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Beyond the StateThe colonial medical service in British Africa$
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Anna Greenwood

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089671

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089671.001.0001

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Social disease and social science

Social disease and social science

the intellectual influence of non-medical research on policy and practice in the Colonial Medical Service in Tanganyika and Uganda

(p.126) Chapter Seven Social disease and social science
Beyond the State

Shane Doyle

Manchester University Press

Colonial medicine has been depicted in recent scholarship as a key element in the imperial state's attempt to comprehend, monitor and control subject communities. Earlier hagiographies too emphasised doctors' intimate knowledge of local attitudes and practices, shaped by humanitarian concern and long service. Yet contemporary sources indicate that doctors were frequently aware of the limits to their understanding of indigenous societies. As colonial states matured, Medical Officers' lack of knowledge of the underlying causes of disease among empire's indigenous populations provoked increasing concern. Some conditions, defined as social diseases, demanded particular attention, because their incidence was recognised as being shaped by the imperfectly understood nature of local societies. This chapter will examine the nature of colonial knowledge, and the formulation of medical interventions, by focusing on colonial reactions to two social diseases in two neighbouring societies: sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Buhaya in colonial Tanganyika and malnutrition in Buganda, the largest kingdom in Uganda.

Keywords:   Disease, STIs, malnutrition, Tanganyika, Uganda, colonial knowledge

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