|Publisher:||University of North Carolina Press|
With new medical and scientific information arriving from Europe at the turn of the century, a powerful alliance developed among medical, scientific, and state authorities in Argentina. These elite forces promulgated a political culture based on a medical model that defined social problems such as poverty, vagrancy, crime, and street violence as illnesses to be treated through programs of social hygiene. They instituted programs to fingerprint immigrants, measure the bodies of prisoners, place wives who disobeyed their husbands in houses of deposit, and exclude or expel people deemed socially undesirable, including groups such as labor organizers and prostitutes. Such policies, Rodriguez argues, led to the destruction of the nation's liberal ideals and opened the way to the antidemocratic, authoritarian governments that came later in the twentieth century.