Every year, as part of the incorporation to the service, a variety of medical practices were performed upon the conscripts’ bodies. These interventions provided the state with a whole set of biopolitical information that helped shape distinctions between “fit” and “unfit” citizens. These notions were clearly informed by ideas of race and class. Military inspectors usually stressed the recruits’ “Indian”, “Criollo” or “European” origin in their explanations of poverty and health problems. In this paper, I aim to historicize the debates over health and hygiene within the Army in order to delve into the production of racialized images of the Argentine population in the first decades of the twentieth century. I will rely mainly on the Sanitary Military Review, the works of Santiago Peralta (an anthropologist that later became the Director of Immigration under Juan Domingo Peron’s rule) and photographs from the military archive.
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