The work of coming to concepts: Arriving at a singular story of COVID-19 in East Arnhem Land

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


This presentation reflects on a piece of collaborative research carried out by the Ground Up research team at Charles Darwin University, Australia during the early stages of COVID-19. Sharing accounts of their own experiences of COVID-19 in communities and clan estates across Arnhem Land, Yolŋu Aboriginal Australian members of this research team contrasted government public health practices with Yolŋu ways of enacting bodies, collective safety and governance in a crisis. In doing so, they helped some of the vibrant multiplicities of COVID-19 become visible to broader academic and public health audiences. When reflecting on this work again now, there is an easy analogy which might be drawn between these stories from the Yolŋu researchers, and Annemarie Mol’s work revealing the complex multiplicity of the disease atherosclerosis (2001). However, in revealing these complex multiplicities, the Yolŋu team were NOT challenging the value or possibility of a singular concept of COVID-19. To the contrary, they recognise that singular working stories are crucial, but that they need to be arrived at through appropriate processes of negotiation and collectively coming to agreement. It is this sometimes-overlooked aspect of theorising which remains in focus here.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event4S Conference : Toronto 2021 - Toronto , Canada
Duration: 6 Oct 20219 Oct 2021


Conference4S Conference
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'The work of coming to concepts: Arriving at a singular story of COVID-19 in East Arnhem Land'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this