Discussing Ivan Illich

In the last couple of months, the one writer that keeps on cropping up in discussion and in my reading is Ivan Illich. Until now, I’ve only ever skimmed his work but I thought that as his work seems to be freely available on the Internet, I’d re-publish them so that other readers, like you, might annotate, comment and discuss his work.

I’ve re-published three essays:

Deschooling Society

Tools for Conviviality

Energy and Equity

An eBook is available for each text, too.

2 Replies to “Discussing Ivan Illich”

  1. You can find lots of Illich’s published work here …


    … and one paper especially worth reading is “The Educational Enterprise in the Light of the Gospel.” He compares teachers in public school to Oskar Schindler shielding Jews from the Nazis – a seemingly impossible task. (I over-simplify, but it’s interesting to find him writing about Schindler well before the movie came out.)

    Also, here …


    … if you search around, you can find (in MP3 format) two wonderful Canadian B’casting Corp. (CBC) radio programs about Illich, called “Part Moon …” and “The Corruption of Christianity.” Both are very much worth listening to.

    Finally, the book “Rivers North of the Future,” by CBC’s David Cayley, provides a summation of Illich’s critique of modernity, which is much deeper and more illuminating than his early papers, such as the three you have listed, ever let on. Modernity, he argues, can only be understood as a perversion of the gospel, and the blame falls primarily on the Church, which is the model for the many service institutions, including compulsory schooling, that we all see and struggle with today. He also has some fascinating ideas about the origins of technology and tools.

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