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Book Chapter

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Urban Histories Of Science: Making Knowledge In The City, 1820-1940


This chapter discusses hygiene in the making of modern Buenos Aires focusing on the hygienic imagination, the construction of a hygienic consensus, and the limits of hygiene discourses in daily life. The arrival of modern hygiene in Buenos Aires took place during a time of profound, rapid changes that were evident in almost every aspect of urban life, from social geography to politics to culture. The triumph of hygiene culture as a catalog of detailed indications for people's daily behavior was part and parcel of the medicalization process that gave shape to a new consensus about normalized urban manners. The hygienist urban imagination, the urban hygiene consensus, and the idea of the urban green were constitutive discourses of the arrival of modernity in Buenos Aires. An insufficient recognition of the reciprocal relationships between humans and germs implies the risk of overestimating what public health can achieve without taking into account the natural history of certain diseases.

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O. Hochadel and A. Nieto-Galan


This material was originally published in Urban Histories Of Science: Making Knowledge In The City, 1820-1940 edited by Oliver Hochadel and Agustí Nieto-Galan, and has been reproduced by permission of Routledge. For permission to reuse this material, please visit the publisher's website.

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