Ivan Illich


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Illich, Ivan

(1926-) Viennese-born libertarian philosopher, social critic, and one-time Roman Catholic priest, currently based in Mexico, whose provocative critique of economic development has attracted much attention. Illich regards so-called economic development as, in reality, leading to the destruction of the vernacular skills previously possessed by people in self-sufficient preindustrial economies.

According to Illich, people have become increasingly dependent on professionals, experts and specialists for the satisfaction of many of their fundamental needs – e.g. the provision of health services and compulsory schooling. In Illich's terms, the provision of such services have often become radical monopolies, since, with the destruction of earlier traditions, there is often no longer any alternative but to have recourse to such expert provision, and in many ways the services offered by such experts are debilitating and dehumanizing. leading to ‘passive consumption’ and dependency The solutions proposed by Illich are for more democratic, participatory structures that foster human autonomy, e.g. instead of compulsory education, access to a choice of ‘educational frameworks’; instead of hierarchically controlled specialist services, the establishment of ‘communication networks’ for the mutual exchange of services. Another of Illich's suggestions is that ‘high quanta of energy degrade social relations’ as much as physical milieu, and that, accordingly, the bicycle is the mode of transport most compatible with egalitarian participatory principles. While Illich's thinking is utopian and polemical, his combination of a religious romantic conservatism with radical critique has stimulated sociological reflection. Main works by Illich are Deschooling Society (1972), Tools for Conviviality (1973), Medical Nemesis:

The Expropriation of Health (1975) and Shadow-work (1981). See also DESCHOOLING, HIDDEN CURRICULUM, IATROGENIC DISEASE.

References in periodicals archive ?
Ivan Illich (1926-2002), a Catholic priest, was a provocative social theorist in the late twentieth century.
This pocketbook of essays offers four essays by the late dissident intellectual, Ivan Illich, on economics, ecology, human nature, consumption, technology, and politics.
IVAN ILLICH, the maverick Catholic theologian, spent most of his life dissecting modern society's obsession with never-ending consumption.
O estatuto da medicalizacao e as interpretacoes de Ivan Illich e Michel Foucault como ferramentas conceituais para o estudo da desmedicalizacao.
Sucede que en Cuernavaca no queda ni rastro de los centros que fundo Ivan Illich junto con un reducido grupo de colaboradores y que llegaron a ser un punto de referencia obligado en los anos sesenta y setenta para el pensamiento critico en torno a la educacion y sus instituciones --primero el Centro de Investigaciones Culturales (CIC) a finales de 1960, y luego el Centro Intercultural de Documentacion (CIDOC) de 1963 a 1976--.
For Passalacqua, recalling Ivan Illich, supple mobility requires a rigid system, and as soon as a transport system acquires a faster speed it inevitably becomes more rigid, reducing the offers to its costumers.
Posteriormente hacemos una revision esbozada sobre el pensamiento de Ivan Illich a traves de algunos de sus conceptos basicos de su teoria, como la convivencialidad y limites al crecimiento, todo ello para acercarnos al problema planteado.
Nacido en Viena en 1926 y emigrado a America durante el apogeo del nazismo, Ivan Illich, quien encontro en Mexico un terreno fertil para la discusion de sus ideas, critico las nociones habituales del progreso desde una perspectiva poco frecuente.
Carl Mitcham, who we read too infrequently in education circles I fear, speaks movingly of the importance of elegiacs as a learning opportunity in the book The Challenges of Ivan Illich (2002).
NEXT TIME YOU'RE INVITED to a '70s party and find your Travoltan eveningwear shrunken, bring a book by Ivan Illich.
The honor goes to the antibureaucratic, anticompetitive, "new Left" school of thought articulated by Ivan Illich and his articulate disciple, John Holt, who captured the imagination of the flower children of the sixties.
Not long ago the world was accessible to everyone, say IVAN ILLICH and JEAN ROBERT and freedom was not a commodity.