Cuando Los Enfermos Hacen Huelga: Argentina 1900-­1940

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Estudios Sociales


This article discuss the supposed passivity of the sick as it was assumed by some of the renovated historic and socio-cultural narratives of disease, health, medicine and social control. It reconstructs individual and collective conflicts between 1910 and 1940—from written petitions to strikes—were tuberculosis patients were protagonists. It underlines that in dealing with the medical power and knowledge, and in a subordinated position, tuberculosis patients were able to negotiate, confront and display subtle battles. However, this re-incorporation of the sick into the historical narrative as active protagonists has to be done very cautiously. Nothing indicates that during the first half of the 20th century issues of disease and collective health infrastructure have fueled social movements that played a decisive role in the gestation of health public policies. On the one hand, the role of the sick is discussed as a step in the long process of enhancement of the social citizenship before the first Peronism. On the other, as an evidence of the complexity that saturates any relationship between those who offer cures and those who want get cured.