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Cells in the Body Politic: Social identity and hospital construction in Peronist Argentina

Author(s): J Hagood

Journal: Health, Culture and Society
ISSN 2161-6590

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 112;
Date: 2012;
Original page

This article examines the critical role played by social identity in the construction of hospitals in the Argentine health care sector during the 1940s and 1950s by uncovering the way in which the “jungle” of hospitals withstood attempts by the state to apply some sense of order, purpose, and centralized organization. The first section examines how physicians envisioned the “modern” hospital they hoped to construct. The second section reveals the important antecedents of nationalized hospitalization schemes found in the collaboration between physicians’ unions and the state. In the third section, an analysis of political speeches illuminates how Juan and Evita Perón packaged new hospitals as gifts to the people from their leader. The fourth section outlines specific plans to increase the number of hospital beds. The final section surveys examples of hospital construction to demonstrate how sub-national identities were instrumental to fragmenting both Argentine society and its hospital infrastructure.
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