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Ivan Illich (1926–2002)

Forfatter af Deschooling Society

72 Works 4,107 Members 38 Reviews 14 Favorited

Om forfatteren

Born in Vienna in 1926, Ivan Illich grew up in Europe. He studied theology, philosophy, history, and natural science. During the 1950s he worked as a parish priest among Puerto Ricans in the Hell's Kitchen section of New York City and then served as rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. vis mere During the 1960s he founded centers for cross-cultural communication, first in Puerto Rico and then in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Since the late 1970s, he has divided his time among Mexico, the United States, and Germany. He is also a professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Penn State University. Illich's radical anarchist views first became widely known through a set of four books published during the early 1970s---Deschooling Society (1971), Tools for Conviviality (1973), Energy and Equity (1974), and Medical Nemesis (1976). Tools is the most general statement of Illich's principles; the other three expand on examples sketched in Today in order to critique what he calls "radical monopolies" in the technologies of education, energy consumption, and medical treatment. This critique applies equally to both the so-called developed and the developing nations but in different ways. Two subsequent collections of occasional pieces---Toward a History of Needs (1978) and Shadow Work (1981)---stress the distorting influence on society and culture of the economics of scarcity, or the presumption that economies function to remedy scarcities rather than to share goods. Toward a History of Needs also initiates a project in the history or archaeology of ideas that takes its first full-bodied shape in Gender (1982), an attempt to recover social experiences of female-male complementarity that have been obscured by the modern economic regime. H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness (1985) extends this project into a history of "stuff." ABC:The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind (1988) carries Illich's project forward into the area of literacy, as does his most recent book, In the Vineyard of the Text (1993). In the Mirror of the Past (1992) is a collection of occasional essays and talks from the 1980s, linking his concerns with economics, education, history, and the new ideological meaning of life. Illich himself is a polymath who speaks at least six languages fluently and who writes regularly in three of these (English, Spanish, and German); his books have been translated into more than 15 other languages. (Bowker Author Biography) vis mindre
Image credit: Ivan Illich (4 septembre 1926 à Vienne en Autriche - 2 décembre 2002 à Brême en Allemagne)

Værker af Ivan Illich

Deschooling Society (1970) 1,116 eksemplarer
Tools for Conviviality (1973) 560 eksemplarer
Celebration of Awareness (1656) 241 eksemplarer
Gender (1982) 156 eksemplarer
Fartens tyranni (1973) 154 eksemplarer
Toward a History of Needs (1826) 103 eksemplarer
Shadow Work (1980) 96 eksemplarer
After Deschooling, What? (1973) 67 eksemplarer
Ivan Illich in Conversation (1992) — Interviewee — 58 eksemplarer
Imprisoned in the Global Classroom (1976) 24 eksemplarer
La perte des sens (2004) 12 eksemplarer
Oeuvres complètes : Volume 2 (2005) 10 eksemplarer
Œuvres complètes (2004) 7 eksemplarer
Golge Is (2013) 2 eksemplarer
Ivan Illich, Un Humanista Radical (2016) 2 eksemplarer
Pervertimento del cristianesimo (2012) 2 eksemplarer
Libertar o futuro 1 eksemplar
ALTERNATIVAS. 1 eksemplar
Alternatives to schooling (1972) 1 eksemplar
Per una storia dei bisogni (1981) 1 eksemplar
Amicus Mortis 1 eksemplar
Tuketim Koleligi 1 eksemplar
Išmokyklinti visuomenę (2019) 1 eksemplar

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I found this book thru mention in Christopher Lasch’s “Culture of Narcissism” and I think it comes at things from a wonderfully contrarian perspective, just like that book does. This book exists in the Marxist tradition (although I don’t know if Illich considered himself one) of deconstructing a cultural monolith that is so omnipresent and ingrained that most people don’t even realize it’s there - in this case it’s compulsory schooling, though by the end of the book Ilich shows us the vast scope of his ideas. The central ideas of this book seem to me three fold:
- compulsory education is a transgression on freedom and dignity
- compulsory education destroys the essential desire to learn and educate oneself under their own volition
- compulsory education is boot camp for a society in which our main duty is to consume
From these criticisms of the educational system as it exists in effectively every corner of the Earth, he extends out into an extremely compelling and (to my ears) highly novel argument against the institutionalization of every aspect of modern life.
Ilich was clearly a highly accomplished and down to earth man who didn’t put much stock in impotent theory - this book is full of practical recommendations as to how to institute the decentralized, curriculum-free version of education he supports. This is some of the drier material in the book, but it’s also valuable to conceiving how such a radical overhaul of one of society’s most basic concepts - the school - might be carried out. And yet, such a vast topic requires much more fleshing out than it gets here, which is ok because this is a book about ideas, not an instruction manual. But as an “educator” myself who would be enthusiastic about putting Ilich’s ideas into practice, I still struggle to envision how education would look under his proposed system.
This book is prescient in so many ways. Illich absolutely predicted the internet in terms of its functionality, but he doesn’t say much about how such a system would be administered and maintained. Perhaps he thought the deschooling of society would occur before technology reached the point we are at now. But even in a world where you can learn almost anything by yourself simply by opening a web browser, the systematic coercion of our educational system, it’s monopoly on the criterium of success remains stalwart. Illich obviously wanted his readers to feel hopeful about the possibility of his educational webs idea (in fact the concept of “hope” is a central concept to the closing part of the book) and so focused on a rather utopian conception of what it would look like; I can’t imagine he would be so naive about that fact that under our current system such a “web” would immediately be monetized by the most craven of capitalist accumulators. This brings me to what I think is the biggest hole in his argument, a kind of educational chicken or the egg; is our fucked society a result of our educational system or is our fucked educational system a result of our society. Illich bucks the typical answer by saying it’s the former rather than the latter, but I’m not sure I feel convinced of that fact after reading this book. That’s not a major slight as there is only so much you can cover in a rather slim volume.
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hdeanfreemanjr | 16 andre anmeldelser | Jan 29, 2024 |
Réédition au point seuil 2021, préface Hervé Kempf.
L’édition de 1977 au Seuil contient "le chômage créateur " en postface.
jmv55 | 4 andre anmeldelser | Apr 26, 2023 |
Theoretical Janus: Ideological Iatrogenesis: Oneirography of Wrong Dreams
"Beyond a certain level of industrial hubris, nemesis must set in, because progress, like the broom of the sorcerer’s apprentice, can no longer be turned off." – I. Illich
Illich has few reservations against wielding the portentous Greek mythos. He is eager to apply Nemesis, the mythical functionary of retribution against hubris, to further his argumentative ends. I would take similar license to personify Janus, the two-headed god of dualities and new beginnings, to describe a particular quality of aporetic argument. Janus is invoked when confused ideology (bad beginnings/“wrong dreams”) wields the spear of critical analysis such that every forward advance also threatens back toward itself. To date I have yet to encounter another work in which every accusation of “inhumanity” or “unfreedom” or “idealism” is uncritically reflected in the same text, often on the same page, paragraph or even the preceding sentence.
“Beyond a certain level of ideological aporia, Janus must set in, because argument, like the ouroboros, is gorged upon itself.” – J. Olipo
In this review I would like to discuss Ideological Iatrogenesis, the unspoken fourth term in Illich’s argumentative triptych, which implicates the first three: Clinical, Social, and Cultural Iatrogenesis.

What is Ivan Illich thinking? Perhaps it’s possible to extrapolate Illich’s perspective from the following emblematic statement, and to begin our analysis with a few questions regarding his use of terms such as “People”, “[Natural] Limits”, and “Minimal Bureaucratic Interference”:
"Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet in an environment equally fit for birth, growth, work, healing, and dying; they are sustained by a culture that enhances the conscious acceptance of limits to population, of aging, of incomplete recovery and ever-imminent death. Healthy people need minimal bureaucratic interference to mate, give birth, share the human condition, and die."
Where do Illich’s “People” function as “Non-Persons”? Where do “subaltern groups” exist in his analysis, e.g. “women” “BIPOC”, “Gender and Sexual Minorities”, and most significantly “The Unhealthy” i.e. those disproportionately impacted by iatrogenesis, and who are conspicuously excluded from the term “healthy people”. Illich is not interested in extending the analysis of iatrogenesis to consider specific groups within the multitude other than “the rich” and “the poor”, which is striking in the setting of a discussion of healthcare disparities within the United States. Illich begs the question in both senses of the phrase. Even the inattentive reader must ask, “What about the Not-Healthy?” In the other sense, Illich is already past this discussion, building his analysis upon the assumption that such life is not worth living. For the disabled, congenitally malformed, old, and mentally ill, the answer is – and trust that I do not exaggerate – “Just let them die.”
On the Old: “A new myth about the social value of the old was developed. Primitive hunters, gatherers, and nomads had usually killed them, and peasants had put them into the back room, but now the patriarch appeared as a literary ideal. Wisdom was attributed to him just because of his age. It first became tolerable and then appropriate that the elderly should attend with solicitude to the rituals deemed necessary to keep up their tottering bodies.”

On the Young: “The engineering approach to the making of economically productive adults has made death in childhood a scandal, impairment through early disease a public embarrassment, unrepaired congenital malformation an intolerable sight, and the possibility of eugenic birth control a preferred theme for international congresses in the seventies.”"

On the Suicidal: “I know of a woman who tried, unsuccessfully, to kill herself. She was brought to the hospital in a coma, with a bullet lodged in her spine. Using heroic measures the surgeon kept her alive, and he considers her case a success: she lives, but she is totally paralyzed; he no longer has to worry about her ever attempting suicide again."

On the Dialysis-Dependent: "The modern fear of unhygienic death makes life appear like a race towards a terminal scramble and has broken personal self-confidence in a unique way. It has fostered the belief that man today has lost the autonomy to recognize when his time has come and to take his death into his own hands."[…] "Complex bureaucracies sanctimoniously select for dialysis maintenance one in six or one in three of those Americans who are threatened by kidney failure. The patient-elect is conditioned to desire the scarce privilege of dying in exquisite torture."
Illich hovers between willful ignorance and partisan denial of the healthcare needs of women, most conspicuously regarding prenatal medical care and hospital delivery, and most anachronistically against women in the workforce.
"Although physicians did pioneer antisepsis, immunization, and dietary supplements, they were also involved in the switch to the bottle that transformed the traditional suckling into a modern baby and provided industry with working mothers who are clients for a factory-made formula."
This is one step removed from the modern left-misogynist meme phrasing "
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Joe.Olipo | 4 andre anmeldelser | Nov 26, 2022 |
Kritika e Illich-it u orientua veçanërisht kundrejt teknologjisë dhe disa institucioneve themelore të modernitetit: arsimi, mjekësia, procesi i prodhimit masiv. Sipas autorit, arsimimi masiv dhe mjekësia moderne kanë sjellë përfitime të dyshimta, madje të rreme, për njerëzimin; këto zhvillime kanë manipuluar, duke i institucionalizuar, aspekte themelore të jetës, e si përfundim kanë sjellë bjerrjen e vetëmjaftueshmërisë, lirisë dhe dinjitetit njerëzor.

veprën "Shoqëria pa shkollë", Illich i paraqet shkollat si vende ku mbretëron dhe përtërihet konsumerizmi dhe bindja ndaj autoritetit, dhe ku mësimi i vërtetë zëvendësohet nga një garë me pengesa nëpër një hierarki institucionale që, në vend të dijes, shpërndan kredenciale boshe. Në vend të shkollimit të detyruar, Illich propozon një model mësimor që transmeton dije dhe aftësi nëpërmjet rrjeteve të marrëdhënieve informale dhe vullnetare.

Illich ishte po aq kritik edhe ndaj mjekësisë moderne, të cilën e akuzonte, ndër shumë gjëra të tjera, për shtimin, në vend se pakësimin, e vuajtjeve. Në përputhje me pikëpamjet e tij, në vitet e fundit të jetës Illich nuk pranoi të kurohej për një tumor që, si përfundim, i shkaktoi vdekjen.
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BibliotekaFeniks | 16 andre anmeldelser | Aug 7, 2022 |



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Associated Authors

Harley Shaiken Contributor
A.J. Emous Translator
渡辺 京二 Translator
渡辺 梨佐 Translator
Erich Fromm Introduction
Helmut Lindemann Translator
Hervé Kempf Foreword
John McKnight Contributor
Jonathan Caplan Contributor
Ian Lister Introduction



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