Climate, Medicine, and Peruvian Health Resorts

Mark Carey, “Climate, Medicine, and Peruvian Health Resorts,” Science, Technology, and Human Values 39, no. 6 (2014): 795-818.

Carey tells the story of Jauja, a health resort developed in mid-nineteenth century Peru. He argues that, through the veil of medico-scientific (and more specifically, climatological) discourse, physicians and other authority figures advocated for the development of the resort for economic, political, racialized, and local cultural reasons. Carey holds the science and medicine to be almost entirely socially constructed, and as such it serves as a lens through which to view the real motivations and influences that affected the development of the region.
I’m not quite as hard of a social constructionist as Carey, and while I will incorporate culturally-produced climates, I believe the science/medicine to be a little bit more independently operated than his argument would have it.

In abstract:
“The historical case about the evolution of Juaja reveals how science and medicine are shaped by distinct spatial forces that illuminate a geography of science… as well as the ways in which climate is culturally constructed in specific sites, by different peoples, and at distinct points in time.”

Arguing against the concept of “universal knowledge” — it’s all bound spatially, and I would argue by class, profession, race, education level, etc.

“A second theoretical concern focuses on how climate is culturally constructed in a specific place and time. Some scholars have argued about the importance of examining the cultural construction of climate and the way climate narratives have social, political, cultural, economic, and ideological values embedded in them. These and other studies thus complicate the scientific meta-narrative that construes climate solely as an atmospheric phenomenon devoid of any meaning. Studies increasingly monstrance that climate cannot be decoupled from its spatial and temporal constructions — its meaning has always derived from the interplay of local, national, and global forces that were both imagined and real.” (798)

Early boosters, it seems, were advocating for RR and other developments for many of the same reasons and via many of the same arguments as in Eureka. (802)

“From the 1850s to the 1920s many — but certainly not all — Peruvian physicians argued that the clean air, cool and even temperatures, consistent winds, low humidity, clear skies, and bright sunlight of Jauja supposedly made it an ideal health resort…” (803)
Almost exactly the same aspects were highlighted in ES (except landscape).


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