The Islamic origins of the French colonial welfare state: hospital finance in Algeria

Clark, H.-L. (2021) The Islamic origins of the French colonial welfare state: hospital finance in Algeria. European Review of History: Revue europeenne d'histoire, 28(5-6), pp. 689-717. (doi: 10.1080/13507486.2021.1990867)

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This article considers the development of hospitals and their funding mechanisms across the Ottoman imperial (ca. 1516–1830) and French colonial (1830–1962) states in Algeria. The first section of the article describes Islamic welfare structures introduced under the stewardship of the Ottoman Empire, and explains how these were appropriated, outlawed and reconfigured in the wake of the French invasion of Algiers. The second section discusses French and colonial policies on assistance publique (public assistance) and their implementation in rural zones of Algeria in the early decades of the twentieth century to create segregated infirmeries indigènes (‘native’ infirmaries). The third section of the article examines how officials contrived to limit the role of the state in financing hospitals by increasing taxes on ordinary Algerians, especially taxes based on Ottoman precedents. The final section uses financial audits conducted by the Cour des comptes (Court of Audit) in Paris, along with other administrative records, to reveal how revenues misrepresented as Islamic were spent, including their use to reduce the tax liabilities of elites associated with the French colonial state. This case shows the enduring importance of Ottoman and Islamic infrastructures to French colonial welfare in Algeria and helps open Algeria up for comparison with the politics of welfare provision in other imperial and post-imperial states.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:his work was supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs [Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship P022A0100038]; Leverhulme Trust [ECF2016-568]; University of Glasgow [Covid-19 Researcher Support]; and the Royal Society of Edinburgh [Research Re-boot (Covid-19 Impact) Research Grants].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Dr Hannah-Louise
Authors: Clark, H.-L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:European Review of History: Revue europeenne d'histoire
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-8293
Published Online:26 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in European Review of History
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300071Healing the Body of the Nation? Healthcare and the State in Algeria c.1800-1980Hannah-Louise ClarkLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)ECF-2016-568Arts - History