Disease and hygiene in the construction of a nation: The public sphere, public space, and the private domain in Buenos Aires, 1871--1910

Kindon Thomas Meik, Florida International University

Abstract

The maturation of the public sphere in Argentina during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was a critical element in the nation-building process and the overall development of the modern state. Within the context of this evolution, the discourse of disease generated intense debates that subsequently influenced policies that transformed the public spaces of Buenos Aires and facilitated state intervention within the private domains of the city’s inhabitants. Under the banner of hygiene and public health, municipal officials thus Europeanized the nation’s capital through the construction of parks and plazas and likewise utilized the press to garner support for the initiatives that would remedy the unsanitary conditions and practices of the city. Despite promises to the contrary, the improvements to the public spaces of Buenos Aires primarily benefited the porteño elite while the efforts to root out disease often targeted working-class neighborhoods. The model that reformed the public space of Buenos Aires, including its socially differentiated application of aesthetic order and public health policies, was ultimately employed throughout the Argentine Republic as the consolidated political elite rolled out its national program of material and social development. ^

Subject Area

History, Latin American

Recommended Citation

Meik, Kindon Thomas, "Disease and hygiene in the construction of a nation: The public sphere, public space, and the private domain in Buenos Aires, 1871--1910" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3502115.
https://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3502115

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