• Alison Bashford


Over the modern period, public health was oftentimes imagined and implemented by forceful states, through policing, detention and compulsion, through the identification of the dangerous and the suspension of habeas corpus. But another genealogy of public health was that of ‘governmentality’, in which practices of the self and the objectives of expert agencies came increasingly into alignment. In many ways it is more useful to understand these changes over time not as a broad movement from the former to the latter, from ‘quarantine’ to the ‘new public health’, from sovereign powers to (self) governance of conduct, or even from dangerousness to risk. Rather, I suggest imagining the manifestation of these modes of power in three kinds of spatial practices, which moved forward in parallel over the modern period, but with different weightings and respective intensities at different moments. First, there were places of coerced segregation and institutionalisation or exile-enclosure (here examined in smallpox quarantine, venereal disease lock hospitals and the island leper colonies). Second, there were segregative practices in which people’s consent was sought by experts and governmental authorities and where the purpose of segregation was not simply removal, but reform (here examined through the sanatorium for consumptives).


Modern Period Governmental Authority Sovereign Power Habeas Corpus Broad Movement 
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Copyright information

© Alison Bashford 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Bashford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of SydneyAustralia

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