Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

First Advisor's Name

Mark D. Szuchman

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Noble David Cook

Third Advisor's Name

Patricia L. Price

Fourth Advisor's Name

Victor M. Uribe-Uran

Keywords

Buenos Aires, hygiene, disease, yellow fever, small pox, public sphere, public space, private domain

Date of Defense

10-27-2011

Abstract

The maturation of the public sphere in Argentina during the late nineteenth and early twentiethcenturies was a critical element in the nation-building process and the overall development ofthe modern state. Within the context of this evolution, the discourse of disease generatedintense debates that subsequently influenced policies that transformed the public spaces ofBuenos Aires and facilitated state intervention within the private domains of the city’sinhabitants. Under the banner of hygiene and public health, municipal officials thusEuropeanized the nation’s capital through the construction of parks and plazas and likewiseutilized the press to garner support for the initiatives that would remedy the unsanitaryconditions and practices of the city. Despite promises to the contrary, the improvements to thepublic spaces of Buenos Aires primarily benefited the porteño elite while the efforts to rootout disease often targeted working-class neighborhoods. The model that reformed the publicspace of Buenos Aires, including its socially differentiated application of aesthetic order andpublic health policies, was ultimately employed throughout the Argentine Republic as theconsolidated political elite rolled out its national program of material and social development.

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