Ivan Illich


Ivan Illich

Infobox Philosopher
region = Western philosophy
era = Contemporary philosophy
color = #B0C4DE


image_size = 200px
name = Ivan Illich
birth = birth date|1926|9|4|mf=y Vienna, Austria
death = Death date and age|2002|12|2|1926|9|4 Bremen, Germany
school_tradition = Anarchism, Catholicism
main_interests = Philosophy of education, Philosophy of technology
influences = Arnold J. Toynbee, Everett Reimer, Jacques Maritain, Leopold Kohr, Jacques Ellul
influenced = Everett Reimer, André Gorz, Lee Felsenstein, Wolfgang Sachs

Ivan Illich (pronounced|ɪˈvɑn ˈɪlɪtʃ [See [http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/d96/Ivan_Illich inogolo:pronunciation of Ivan Illich] .] ) (Vienna, 4 September 1926 – Bremen, 2 December 2002) was an Austrian philosopher and anarchist social critic. He authored a series of critiques of the institutions of contemporary western culture and their effects of the provenance and practice of education, medicine, work, energy use, and economic development. Illich has been called the intellectual father of Web 2.0 and Wikipedia. In 1971 Illich imagined a world where people learned mostly from each other rather than from experts and where information would be available everywhere anytime—in railway stations, factories, cafes, hospitals everywhere.

Personal life

Illich was born in Vienna to a Croatian father and Sephardic-Jewish mother and had Italian, French and German as native languages. Thierry Paquot, [http://mondediplo.com/2003/01/15illich The Non-Conformist] , "Le Monde diplomatique", January 2003 en icon ( [http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2003/01/PAQUOT/9866 French version freely-available] , and Portuguese and Esperanto translations available)] He later learned Serbo-Croatian, the language of his grandfathers, then Ancient Greek and Latin, in addition to Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, and other languages. Thereafter, he studied histology and crystallography at the University of Florence (Italy) as well as theology and philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in the Vatican (from 1942 to 1946), and medieval history in Salzburg.

He wrote a dissertation focusing on the historian Arnold J. Toynbee and would return to that subject in his later years. In 1951, he was assigned as an assistant parish priest in New York City after which he was appointed in 1956, at the age of 30, as the vice rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. It was in Puerto Rico that Illich met Everett Reimer and the two began to analyze their own functions as "educational" leaders. In 1959, he traveled throughout South America on foot and by bus.

In 1961, Illich founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC, or Intercultural Documentation Center) at Cuernavaca in Mexico, ostensibly a research center offering language courses to missionaries from North America and volunteers of the Alliance for Progress program initiated by John F. Kennedy. However, his intent was to counterfoil the participation of the Vatican in the "modern development" of the so-called Third World. Illich looked askance at the liberal pity or conservative imperiousness that motivated the rising tide of global industrial development. He viewed such emissaries as a form of industrial hegemony and, as such, an act of "war on subsistence." He sought to teach missionaries dispatched by the Church to identify themselves instead as guests of the host country.Fact|date=August 2008

After ten years, critical analysis from the CIDOC of the institutional actions by the Church brought the organization into conflict with the Vatican. Illich was called to Rome for questioning, due in part to a report from the CIA. In 1976, Illich, apparently concerned by the influx of formal academics and the potential side effects of its own "institutionalization," shut the center down with consent from the other members of the CIDOC. Several of the members subsequently continued language schools in Cuernavaca, of which some still exist. Illich himself resigned as a priest in the late 1960s.

In the 1970s, Illich was popular among leftist intellectuals in France, his thesis having been discussed in particular by André Gorz. However, his influence declined after the 1981 election of François Mitterrand as he was considered too pessimistic at a time when the French Left took control of the government.

In the 1980s and beyond, Ivan Illich traveled extensively, mainly splitting his time between the United States, Mexico, and Germany. He held an appointment as a Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Science, Technology and Society at Penn State. He also taught at the University of Bremen.

During his later years, he suffered from a cancerous growth on his face that, in accordance with his critique of professionalized medicine, was treated with traditional methods. He regularly smoked opium to deal with the pain caused by this tumor. At an early stage, he consulted a doctor about having the tumor removed, but was told that there was too great a chance of losing his ability to speak, and so he lived with the tumor as best he could. He called it "my mortality."Fact|date=December 2007

"Deschooling Society"

The book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention was "Deschooling Society" (1971), a critical discourse on education as practised in "modern" economies. Full of detail on then-current programs and concerns, the book's core assertions and propositions remain as radical today as they were at the time. Giving real-world examples of the ineffectual nature of institutionalized education, Illich posited self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid, informal arrangements:

The last sentence makes clear what the title suggests -- that the institutionalization of education is considered to tend towards the institutionalization of society, and conversely that ideas for de-institutionalizing education may be a starting point for a de-institutionalized society.

The book is more than a critique -- it contains positive suggestions for a reinvention of learning throughout society and throughout every individual lifetime. Particularly striking is his call (in 1971) for the use of advanced technology to support "learning webs."

"Tools for Conviviality"

"Tools for Conviviality" (1973) was published only two years after "Deschooling Society". In this new work Illich generalized the themes that he had previously applied to the field of education: the institutionalization of specialized knowledge, the dominant role of technocratic elites in industrial society, and the need to develop new instruments for the reconquest of practical knowledge by the average citizen. Illich proposed that we should "invert the present deep structure of tools" in order to "give people tools that guarantee their right to work with independent efficiency." [Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality (1973) ISBN 0-06-080308-8 ISBN 0-06-012138-6]

"Tools for Conviviality" attracted world-wide attention. A resume of it was published by French social philosopher André Gorz in "Les Temps Modernes", under the title "Freeing the Future." [] The book's vision of tools that would be developed and maintained by a community of users had a significant influence on the first developers of the personal computer, notably Lee Felsenstein. [Convivial Cybernetic Devices, From Vacuum Tube Flip-Flops to the Singing Altair, An Interview with Lee Felsenstein (Part 1), The Analytical Engine (Newsletter of the Computer History Association of California, ISSN 1071-6351), Volume 3, Number 1, November 1995, http://opencollector.org/history/homebrew/engv3n1.html]

List of works

* " Die philosophischen Grundlagen der Geschichtsschreibung bei Arnold J. Toynbee" (1951), Diss. Salzburg
* "Celebration of Awareness" (1971) ISBN 0-7145-0837-3
* "Deschooling Society" (1971) ISBN 0060121394
* "Tools for Conviviality" (1973) ISBN 0-06-080308-8 ISBN 0-06-012138-6
* "Energy and Equity" (1974) ISBN 0061361535
* "Medical Nemesis" (1975) ISBN 0-394-71245-5 ISBN 0-7145-1095-5 ISBN 0-7145-1096-3
* "The Right to Useful Unemployment" (1978) ISBN 0-7145-2628-2
* "Toward a History of Needs" (1978) ISBN 0-394-41040-8 ISBN 0-394-73501-3
* "Shadow Work" (1981) ISBN 0-7145-2711-4 ISBN 0-7145-2710-6
* "Gender" (1982) ISBN 0-394-52732-1
* "H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness" (1985) ISBN 0-911005-06-4
* "ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind" (1988) ISBN 0-86547-291-2
* "In the Mirror of the Past" (1992) ISBN 0-7145-2937-0
* "In the Vineyard of the Text: A Commentary to Hugh's Didascalicon" (1993) ISBN 0-226-37235-9
* "Ivan Illich in Conversation" interviews with Cayley, David. (1992) (Toronto: Anansi Press).
* "The Rivers North of the Future - The Testament of Ivan Illich as told to David Cayley" (2005) ISBN 0-88784-714-5 (Toronto: Anansi Press)
* "Corruption of Christianity" Illich, Ivan (Author) Cayley, David (Editor) (2000) ISBN 0-660-18099-5

Bibliography

* "Power in the Highest Degree : Professionals and the Rise of a New Mandarin Order" by Charles Derber, William A. Schwartz, and Yale Magrass, Oxford University Press, 1990.
* "Silencing Ivan Illich : A Foucauldian Analysis of Intellectual Exclusion". Gabbard, D. A. New York: Austin & Winfield, 1993, ISBN 1880921170

See also

* Deschooling
* Critical pedagogy
* Holistic education
* Credentialism
* Development criticism
* Critique of technology
* Lee Felsenstein
*
* Alternative Medicine
* Ecopedagogy

External links

* [http://www.pudel.uni-bremen.de/420en_beteiligte.html Thinking After Illich]
* [http://ournature.org/~novembre/illich/ Ivan Illich Archives]
* [http://ournature.org/~novembre/illich/1970_deschooling.html]
** - A reading group for discussion of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society.
* [http://ournature.org/~novembre/illich/misc/latex/energy_and_equity.pdf Full text of "Energy and Equity"]
* [http://todd.cleverchimp.com/tools_for_conviviality/ Full text of "Tools for Conviviality"]
* [http://wholeearth.com/ArticleBin/111-7.html Remembering Ivan Illich] "Whole Earth Magazine," Spring 2003
* [http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?IvanIllich A page on Illich on the WikiWikiWeb, with more links]
* [http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich.html List of pointers to Illich's writings]
* [http://www.pudel.uni-bremen.de/ Website of Illich's collaborators in Germany]
* [http://www.bicyclingfish.com/illich_hell.htm "To Hell With Good Intentions"] , a noted address to the 1968 Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects.
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4563612-103684,00.html Obituary from the Guardian newspaper (UK)]
* [http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/21/jan03/illich.htm Ivan Illich, 1926-2002]
* [http://www.wtp.org/archive/transcripts/ivan_illich_jerry.html Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown]
* [http://www.ivanillich.org/ Ivan Illich's writings in Spanish]
* [http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/ An extensive set of Illich's writings and recordings]
* [http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-illic.htm Article in The encyclopaedia of informal education]
* [http://www.lewrockwell.com/wall/wall28.html A Turbulent Priest in the Global Village]
* [http://www.altruists.org/illich Collection of Illich documents and MP3s]
* [http://webs.lanset.com/aeolusaero/Articles/Mayday%20Cafe--Apr%2004--Ivan%20Illich.htm Article on pain]
* [http://www.newindpress.com/sunday/sundayitems.asp?id=SEB20060309063004&eTitle=Books+%26+Literature&rLink=0/ Article on Ivan Illich in the New Indian Express]
* [http://www.pinkyshow.org/archives/episodes/061127/061127_illich.html "Scary School Nightmare"] - a "Pinky Show" online video inspired by Illich's "Deschooling Society".
* [http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2008/08/04/richard-smith-medpedia-inspired-by-the-counterculture-of-the-60s/ Article on Illich as intellectual father of Web 2.0 and Wikipedia]

References

Persondata
NAME= Illich, Ivan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Austrian philosopher and anarchist social critic
DATE OF BIRTH=September 4 1926
PLACE OF BIRTH=Vienna
DATE OF DEATH=December 2 2002
PLACE OF DEATH=Bremen, Germany


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