To understand why these two nations have handled contemporary disease threats in such different ways, Charles Allan McCoy examines when and how disease control measures were adopted in each country from the nineteenth century onward, which medical theory of disease was dominant at the time, and where disease control was located within the state apparatus. Particular starting conditions put Britain and the United States on distinct trajectories of institutionalization that led to their respective systems of disease control. As McCoy shows, even the seemingly objective matter of contagion is deeply enmeshed in social and political realities, and by developing unique systems of biopower to control the spread of disease, Britain and the United States have established different approaches of exerting political control over citizens’ lives and bodies.
"Diseased States is insightful, original, and a great reminder of how the pursuit of public health is not as beneficent as it might seem and not immune to the vices of the public itself."—Kenneth Kirkwood, associate professor of health studies at Western University
"A sophisticated comparative analysis of the differing responses to infectious diseases in Britain and the United States from the nineteenth century to the present, Diseased States is a significant contribution to the literature."—Magdalena Szaflarski, associate professor of sociology and scientist in the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham