The Ailing City: Health, Tuberculosis, and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1870-1950

The Ailing City: Health, Tuberculosis, and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1870-1950

By: Diego Armus (author)Hardback

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For decades, tuberculosis in Buenos Aires was more than a dangerous bacillus. It was also an anxious state of mind shaped not only by fears of contagion and death but also by broader social and cultural concerns. These worries included changing work routines, rapid urban growth and its consequences for housing and living conditions, efforts to build a healthy "national race," and shifting notions of normality and pathology. In The Ailing City, the historian Diego Armus explores the metaphors, state policies, and experiences associated with tuberculosis in Buenos Aires between 1870 and 1950. During those years, the disease was conspicuous and frightening, and biomedicine was unable to offer an effective cure. Against the background of the global history of tuberculosis, Armus focuses on the making and consolidation of medicalized urban life in the Argentine capital. He discusses the state's intrusion into private lives and the ways that those suffering from the disease accommodated and resisted official attempts to care for them and to reform and control their morality, sociability, sexuality, and daily habits. The Ailing City is based on an impressive array of sources, including literature, journalism, labor press, medical journals, tango lyrics, films, advertising, imagery, statistics, official reports, and oral history. It offers a unique perspective on the emergence of modernity in a cosmopolitan city on the periphery of world capitalism.

About Author

Diego Armus is Associate Professor of Latin American History at Swarthmore College. He has written and edited several books in Spanish, and is the editor of Disease in the History of Modern Latin America: From Malaria to AIDS, also published by Duke University Press.


List of Figures vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction: A History of Tuberculosis in Modern Buenos Aires 1 1. People with Tuberculosis Looking for Cures 23 2. From Being Sick to Becoming a Patient 49 3. Unruly and Well-Adjusted Patients 84 4. The Fight against Tuberculosis and the Culture of Hygiene 115 5. The Obsession with Contagion 141 6. A Disease of Excesses 189 7. Immigration, Race, and Tuberculosis 221 8. A Female Disease 251 9. Forging the Healthy Body: Physical Education, Soccer, Childhood, and Tuberculosis 276 10. Tuberculosis and Regeneration: Imagined Cities, Green Spaces, and Hygienic Housing 307 Epilogue 345 Abbreviations 351 Notes 353 Selected Bibliography 397 Index 409

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780822349990
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 432
  • ID: 9780822349990
  • ISBN10: 082234999X

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