By Julia Rodriguez
After a promising commence as a filthy rich and liberal democratic state on the finish of the 19th century, Argentina descended into instability and trouble. This stark reversal, in a rustic wealthy in traditional assets and probably bursting with growth and effort, has questioned many historians. In Civilizing Argentina, Julia Rodriguez takes a sharply opposite view, demonstrating that Argentina's flip of fortune isn't really a secret yet particularly the ironic outcome of schemes to "civilize" the country within the identify of progressivism, overall healthiness, technological know-how, and public order.
With new scientific and medical info returning from Europe on the flip of the century, a robust alliance built between scientific, clinical, and nation specialists in Argentina. those elite forces promulgated a political tradition in keeping with a scientific version that outlined social difficulties resembling poverty, vagrancy, crime, and road violence as health problems to be handled via courses of social hygiene. They instituted courses to fingerprint immigrants, degree the our bodies of prisoners, position better halves who disobeyed their husbands in "houses of deposit," and exclude or expel humans deemed socially bad, together with teams comparable to exertions organizers and prostitutes. Such rules, Rodriguez argues, ended in the destruction of the nation's liberal beliefs and opened the best way to the antidemocratic, authoritarian governments that got here later within the 20th century.
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Additional resources for Civilizing Argentina: Science, Medicine, and the Modern State
Military campaigns, they seemed to realize, were increasingly unacceptable in the modern age. Seeking new means of managing social problems and engineering their society, they created and fostered a new class of professionals and endowed it with the means and authority to carry out the state’s agenda. The Generation of 1880, and those who followed in their footsteps, deﬁned for Argentina a scientiﬁc worldview that carried power and legitimacy. With impetus, funding, and encouragement from the oligarchic state, they would shape Argentine political culture for decades to come.
They supported public primary education, the expansion of the University of Buenos Aires and the building of universities in the interior, and the establishment and modernization of university science departments, scientiﬁc journals, and police laboratories. An important social base of the scientiﬁc elite was the newly consolidated and expanding University of Buenos Aires, no ivory tower but rather a central and powerful cultural and political organ of the capital and nation. Though the university’s faculty was relatively small—the medical school had only twenty-three full professors in 1888—its members were more often than not the leaders of their respective professions, particularly in law and medicine, and mentors to the future leaders of the nation.
In 1904 Lucas Ayarragaray, a physician and inﬂuential national deputy, published an in-depth study of the historical development of the Argentine national character and its ‘‘ethnic and psychological’’ traits. ’’∞∏ Ayarragaray, too, viliﬁed the caudillo and gaucho as rural types. The caudillo, he said, needed the crowd as much as it needed him; the mutual vice and immorality of the crowd and its leader fed each other. The caudillo combined the worst ethnic traits of the Indian and the gaucho, in Ayarragaray’s opinion: ‘‘In reality, one and the other type blend together in their a≈nity of fundamental qualities that emerge from a common psychological source.