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Deschooling Society (1970)

por Ivan Illich

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1,1161717,740 (3.86)7
A denounciation of present-day schooling with radical suggestions for reform.
Adicionado recentemente porzhuazhua88, wnstn, bubblethug, CalvinJames, Af_arusha
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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. ( )
  hdeanfreemanjr | Jan 29, 2024 |
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.

Në 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.
  BibliotekaFeniks | Aug 7, 2022 |
An excellent and in-depth critical analysis on the idea of school systems, and how they act as training for consumer-driven society. Some sections have dated since publication in 1971, but remain relevant in their overall critique of consumer culture. The final chapter, a philosophical amalgamation of Greek mythology and social criticism that highlights the dangers inherent in continuous and unchecked technological advancement. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
This book takes the myth of schooling as a place where anything important happens and rips it to shreds, and replaces it with deep trust in humanity to learn and to grow on their own terms and not having the terms of 'learning' or 'improvement' dictated to an individual by others. This book confirmed what on some level I think we all know: kids hate school for a reason, and that reason is that school is dumb, no true learning happens, and the actualization of one's authentic self, and the growth needed to be one's best self, happens outside of school. Most of us didn't like being in school anyway, but somehow we forget, and push the values of standardized education onto the next generation. I wish Ivan Illich could run the world. I'd be scared at first, the man is truly radical, but it would be better than the shitshow we have going on right now. ( )
1 vote barnettie | Feb 3, 2019 |
Ivan Illich doesn’t mince words. So far as formal schooling goes, he argues for a society where school is not just out for summer, it’s out completely. In Deschooling Society he writes, “The modern state has assumed the duty of enforcing the judgment of its educators…much as [did] the Spanish kings who enforced the judgments of their theologians through the conquistadors and the Inquisition.” The Inquisition? Now that’s a concussive statement.

Illich’s goal is to unshackle education from institutions. He doesn’t want government or other formal bodies deciding how to educate the populace. He protests that “only by channeling dollars away from the institutions which now treat…education…can the further impoverishment resulting from their disabling side effects be stopped.” How stop these disabling acts? Nothing less than a Bill of Rights of Education will do, with the first provision being “The state shall make no law with respect to the establishment of education.” He’d also, we figure out, likely endorse banning educational methods based on the concept of “Childhood.” A related consequence is his idea of permitting “a boy of twelve to become a man fully responsible for his participation in the life of the community…[and] allowed to come of age.” Recalling that he’d been a parish priest, that statement can cause one to blanch.

All this is assertive enough to get my attention. Does he deserve yours? It doesn’t help that the book’s first paragraph is bad enough to discourage any faith he won’t waste our time. And oh, that relentless rhetoric, with hardly a living being in sight. The author offers a torrent of pronouncements notable for the absence of opinions from young people. Illich is the man on the street corner expostulating with oratory that can seem like static because he won’t intrude on his argument testimony from the souls he seeks to save. It would help him, and us, a lot if they could testify.

Interwoven in the argument is Illich’s strong conviction that school exists to serve the power elite. This is no secondary matter and motivates much of his distaste. In his hands, though, that subject becomes boring and distracts from the more interesting theme of revolutionizing education.

In his final chapter, Illich verges on apocalyptic. It appears we now find ourselves in a kind of End Times in which “survival of the human race” will depend on rediscovery of “hope.” Hope, he clarifies, “means trusting faith in the goodness of nature” and it “centers desire on a person from whom we await a gift.” This hope Illich summons calls immediately to mind childhood’s trusting faith when looking to loving parents for help. It is an irony: Illich invokes such hope despite earlier insisting that “Growing up through childhood means being condemned to a process of inhuman conflict between self-awareness and the role imposed by a society.” But by whom is that role introduced? By one’s parents, for most. So it seems we are to achieve survival when the conditions associated with inhuman conflict tend to be at large.

Still, despite how one might be driven away from Deschooling Society, the book has merits. His attitudes toward licensure, certification, and credentialing deserve notice. He understands the mania of how societies “create needs faster than they can create satisfaction.” And while his notion of “learning webs” isn’t introduced all that effectively, it is a prescient idea that the internet age makes realistic. Unless a reader is resistant to hearing others’ thoughts, the book will be a stimulus, even if only to wrestle with how to form objections. Naturally it would please Illich best if your wrestling is undertaken for some purpose other than completing a school or institutional assignment.

A fascinating article illustrating a real-world educational alternative called “unschooling” was published in Outside magazine a few years ago. It is “We Don’t Need No Education,” by Ben Hewitt, and is online. There are living young people in it and their experiences speak to the possibility that education can be done without curriculum-bound schools or “home” schools. Check it out, along with Hewitt’s other writings on the subject, especially if Illich’s way of arguing cause you to lose interest not in his subject but in his book. ( )
1 vote dypaloh | Dec 6, 2018 |
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A denounciation of present-day schooling with radical suggestions for reform.

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