Civilizing Argentina: Science, Medicine, and the Modern by Julia Rodriguez

By Julia Rodriguez

After a promising commence as a filthy rich and liberal democratic state on the finish of the 19th century, Argentina descended into instability and predicament. This stark reversal, in a rustic wealthy in typical assets and doubtless bursting with growth and effort, has questioned many historians. In Civilizing Argentina, Julia Rodriguez takes a sharply opposite view, demonstrating that Argentina's flip of fortune isn't really a secret yet fairly the ironic end result of schemes to "civilize" the kingdom within the identify of progressivism, future health, technology, and public order.

With new scientific and clinical details returning from Europe on the flip of the century, a robust alliance constructed between clinical, clinical, and kingdom specialists in Argentina. those elite forces promulgated a political tradition in keeping with a clinical version that outlined social difficulties similar to poverty, vagrancy, crime, and road violence as health problems to be taken care of via courses of social hygiene. They instituted courses to fingerprint immigrants, degree the our bodies of prisoners, position better halves who disobeyed their husbands in "houses of deposit," and exclude or expel humans deemed socially bad, together with teams akin to exertions organizers and prostitutes. Such guidelines, Rodriguez argues, resulted in the destruction of the nation's liberal beliefs and opened the best way to the antidemocratic, authoritarian governments that got here later within the 20th century.

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The earlier patriots had established the tradition of looking outward to Europe and North America for their models of economics, politics, and culture, adhering to British theories of democracy, law, and free markets. ≥≥ The Generation of 1880, located in the nation’s capital, enjoyed the respect and deference of a society enthralled with science, especially its medical breakthroughs and industrial inventiveness. It took no great leap of faith, therefore, to believe that science might diagnose and heal the social ills of modern human society.

Barbarism and the civilizing sciences 15 too, native-born Spanish Americans were rising up against foreign rule, using the war in Europe as a catalyst to revolution. Independence, which brought Spanish rule to an end in 1820, had brought also to an end, in theory, three centuries of barbarism. Nonetheless, military success did not end the civil battle. Argentina, like many other emergent Latin American nations, continued to be rocked by decades of violence and struggle. ∏ Argentine traditionalists sought to maintain the basic structures of the colonial period (now in the hands of the creoles), the feudalistic haciendas (large plantations that ran on highly exploitative labor and debt peonage).

Many scientists’ frequent letters and essays home were published in local newspapers and scientific journals. Indeed, only those professionals who could show some degree of success in Europe were accorded membership in the Argentine medical establishment. Argentines followed avidly the prominent theories of British, German, Italian, and later Spanish scientists. French and Italian were considered mandatory languages for Argentine physicians, and Argentine journals routinely published articles in those languages.

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