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Governing SystemsModernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910$
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Tom Crook

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290341

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290341.001.0001

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In Search of Hygeia

In Search of Hygeia

Systems, Modernity, and Public Health

(p.1) Chapter 1 In Search of Hygeia
Governing Systems

Tom Crook

University of California Press

This chapter opens with a brief discussion of the development of modern public health in Victorian and Edwardian England, and the emergence of an “antiheroic” historiography. The chapter then sets out the novel understanding of modernity advanced in the book. This understanding comprises two key facets: first, a focus on systems and multiple agents of governance, rather than a singular state that grows or diminishes over time; and second, a dynamic understanding of modernity based on the syntheses of different levels, agents, and times of governance. None of these dynamics determined what happened. Rather, as they began to combine from the 1830s onward, they structured the problem of public health as it was posed and practiced, contested, and conceive, in a contingent fashion.

Keywords:   contingency, dynamics, governance, modernity, public health, systems

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