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Deschooling Society
Ivan Illich
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Deschooling Society

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,147 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Schools have failed our individual needs, supporting false and misleading notions of 'progress' and development fostered by the belief that ever-increasing production, consumption and profit are proper yardsticks for measuring the quality of human life. Our universities have become recruiting centres for the personnel of the consumer society, certifying citizens for servic ...more
ebook, 157 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Marion Boyars Publishers
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Jan 13, 2008 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Graham
Illich questions the basic assumption that most liberal (or for that matter non-liberal) people in the US have: more educational = more gooder. Attacking the idea that compulsory schooling is constructive, Illich offers one of the more radical analyses of the educational system I've ever heard of of, much less read. What, after all, is the relation between schooling and learning, if any?

As someone who has spent a huge portion (like one over one) of their life in school and now teaches at a unive
Ivan Illich is one of our more interesting social critics. Schooled as a priest he became anathema to both the left and the right of the Catholic Church. He was Vice Rector pf the Catholic University of Ponce in Puerto Rico when he was ordered to leave by the Bishop. He went to Mexico where he founded the Center for Intercultural Documentation. In 1967 he was summoned before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to undergo a modern form of the medieval inquisition. One of the reasons fo ...more
This book challenged my views more than any book I've ever read. Illich's case for the need to deschool society is not only compelling it is transformative. As a person who has become highly critical of public schooling, I was already familiar with where he was going, but to abandon every type of institutional school system including free/democratic schools as well as universities seemed a bit much to me, until he went into detail about the repressiveness of such institutions and how we learn mo ...more
Aya Al-Oballi
This book is a lens that will help you re-evaluate the school system, by urging you to undo what you've been "taught", and explore what you want to "learn".

تلخيص سطرين المصوّر للكتاب (بالعربي)
I'm sure everyone's had that experience where you find yourself agreeing with an argument point after point, and then suddenly the person making that argument puts one of your own deeply held opinions into the crosshairs. Such was the case with Deschooling Society: Illich makes a very powerful case for the importance of self-directed education but I was flummoxed by his opposition to universal education, logical as it is to his position.

Illich essentially rejects institutionalized education bec
This book made me acutely uncomfortable, thoughtful, sad, and angry--all in helpful ways. What made me sad and angry is that Illich's critique of the public school system in the United States still rings true today, after a generation in which there could have been positive change. I would say that 80% of the time I spent in public school prior to entering the university system was a waste of my time and intellectual/emotional resources as a young adult. And the university system, while a signif ...more
Jeremy Wineberg
While there is a lot of outdated information here, particularly in the first few pages where Illich is setting up a context for his argument, the basic of tenants of his argument make incredible sense to me: school is not just a way to prepackage information that substitutes consumption for actual learning, but "an advertising agency which makes you believe that you need society as it is. In such a society marginal value has become constantly self-transcendent. It forces the few largest consumer ...more
To have my life long feelings about school be so beautifully articulated in a book, was affirming, exhilarating,mind blowing, and life altering.My heart rate was accelerated through most of it. My whole life, school has literally made me feel sick. I came out of high school depressed, disconnected, and lost. I have spent most of my adult life recovering from it. And I now homeschool my two boys, because I didn't have the stomach to put them through it. But deep down, I have always felt a little ...more
"Institutional wisdom tells us that children need school. Institutional wisdom tells us that
children learn in school. But this institutional wisdom is itself the product of schools
because sound common sense tells us that only children can be taught in school. Only by
segregating human beings in the category of childhood could we ever get them to submit
to the authority of a schoolteacher."

Ivan Illich masterfully deconstructs the idea of schooling and all of its perceived advantages. Illich, who wa
I thought this was mind blowingly good. Ivan is basically saying school is like a training ground for the perpetuation of a society to be the way it currently is. And remain that way. I barely remember anything I actually learnt from school which is not to say that I didn't learn much from the process itself but I dare say the years I spent in a well known few paying grammar school could have been infinitely better spent. A community environment aligned to a mentor ship setting I believe is the ...more
Andrew Neuendorf
Illich takes on the last sacred cow: compulsory public education. Written in early 1970's, he was calling for the use of extended networks linking students to teachers. He was talking about the internet before there was one. I think he's largely correct that public education reinforces class differences and drains students of intrinsic motivation. It's painful to watch a child skip to school in kindergarten, but drag her feet by the time she gets to fourth grade.
Phil Lensi
anything by ivan illich will blow your mind
Cynthia L'Hirondelle
Another must read classic by Illich.
Adriane Devries
“For most men, the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.”

Austrian-born Ivan Illich, author of Deschooling Society, lists life-long accomplishments and passions, not formal education, as his credentials. Assistant pastor at an Irish-Puerto Rican parish in New York City, and later serving as vice-rector to the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, he co-founded of the Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuervabaca, Mexico.

In his philosophy and experience, public and c
Lane Pybas
A thought provoking critique of compulsory education. Illich argues that institutionalized education allows schools to monopolize learning, which is harmful because schools fail to distinguish between learning and teaching. Schools are based on the premise that learning is the result of teaching, begetting the belief that people need to be taught. Under this system, people can abdicate themselves of responsibility for their own growth, relying on teachers to impart them with knowledge. This is d ...more
So far I'm reading this and it's not as good as i thought it would be. At times it's like im dragging myself to finish the book, but at other times I actually enjoy reading this book.
maybe the guy just didn't get his degree, or something.(hahaha)
where would we be without school?
yeah, some things we can learn on our own, but how about the little, important details?
could you learn how to do open heart surgeries on your own? I think not.
and school/education doesn't do anything to our imagination, o
Petter Nordal
Illich's central argument is that institutionalizing social problems results in a subterfuge whereby people stop thinking about the social problem and instead ask why the institution is failing. If there's crime, what's wrong with the criminal justice system; if there's illness, what's wrong with the hospitals; if people are mistreated, what's wrong with the government, etc. It's a good point, and he is correct in looking at how this question is especially problematic with schools. By creating t ...more
John Campagna
Since the initial publication of "Deschooling Society" in 1971 there has been little change to the structure of public school and centralized institutions, at least in the United States. Illich's pessimistic message on the future school and institutional forces did little to create any change in society during his time. Yet, upon reading Illich, one is often shocked at the resonance of the problems in his time with those of today

Illich's basic premise is that school is a degrading institution wh
Ivan Illich has a grudge against institutions. That's the first thing to realize when reading this book -- it's not primarily about school; school is just the best model of a "manipulative" institution that Illichh can find. He places institutions on a left-wing/right-wing spectrum. On the left end are what he deems "convivial" institutions. These are open arenas for user-driven action -- for instance, a public library, the telephone network, and a park would all be towards the left end of the s ...more
I have read this book four times now. That is not to say that I agree with all contained in its pages, but to say that the book i really astute, clearly written, and thought-provoking. Illich's concern is that our push for 'education for all' (however good the motives behind it) has the effect of imposing one vision of education onto everyone - a vision where we become dependent on others imparting information into us rather than us exercising independence. And the more schooling we get, the mor ...more
Tanner Welsh
There is perhaps no better critique of he education system in it's essence, or a better explanation for why radical restructuring is absolutely necessary for any self-styled democratic society.

Illich, in his grandiose and yet somehow anti-universalist style, points out the fallacies, injustices, hypocrisies, and absurdities of western schooling. The "argument" (if you want to label it as such) is composed of somewhat incongruous anecdotes and musings that all orbit his central message but do no
"A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known. Such a system would require the application of constitutional guarantees to education. Learners should not be forced to submit to ...more
Illich secara kritis mencermati dampak negatif dari pendidikan formal yang dilaksanakan secara kaku dan indoktrinasi. Telaah tentang dampak pendidikan tersebut cukup relevan dengan suramnya dunia pendidikan di Indonesia. Hanya saja usulan Illich untuk meniadakan sekolah formal kayaknya kurang realistis untuk dilaksanakan dalam skala makro, karena siapakah yang akan memfasilitasi proses belajar yang intens bila tiada bangku sekolah?
Carah Naseem
Thought provoking... his opening thoughts about unequal distribution of resources in the public education system for so-called "equal education" was SPOT ON, even 40 years later. His general idea, that institutionalized education is a way to control people's lives, I agree with, but the text is ridden with ableism and misogyny... made it difficult to get through for me. The language of the book is obviously directed towards men with higher education, and it shows.
Also, he was crazy prescient wi
What Ivan Illich try to convey, in a bigger picture is, the school nowadays is the institution organized around expectations, which means it tends to becoming a manipulative institutions. The last chapter about Epimethean Man is telling everything about this. These kind of institutions might seek to eliminate the disappointment, pain, and unpredictability of life, but in the process they will always ironically prevent us from being fully human.

So, the Epimethean Man, whose derived from Epimethe
Kathleen O'Neal
While by no means the best radical critique of contemporary education, Illich's book is interesting. At times his religious conservatism and borderline misogyny troubled me though. Sadly these are attitudes one finds all too frequently in the unschooling community at large so I can see why Illich may appeal to some of these folks more than he does to me.
Jason West
This book should be required reading for anyone claiming to be an educator. I think it is even more relevant today than when it was written simply because we now have the technological tools to be able to implement some of the ideas it contains. Illich must have seemed like a madman to many in 1971, today he reads like a sober and sane visionary.
Tysseer Harak
الكاتب له أفكار عميقة إلى حد كبير حول المشكلة المدرسية, وإن كان لا يخلو من مبالغة شأنه شأن الفلاسفة في طرحه لهذه المشكلات وأثرها. لعل الملحوظة الطريفة أن الكاتب حين ألف كتابه في السبعينيات لم يكن يحلم بثورة الانترنت ومواقع التواصل الاجتماعي التي سمحت بالكثير من الحلول التي طرحها هو كبديل للمدرسة أو كطرق لتحقيق "اللامدرسية" التي ينشدها.
الرجل أيضا ناقم على المدرسين والشهادات نقمة تشي بحزازية شخصية :)
من عيوب الكتاب هو الإطناب والتكرار, وأعتقد أن الكتاب كله كان يمكن اختصاره في مقال أو كتيب من 20 صفح
I started reading this book thinking "Well, this is going to be ridiculous" and finished thinking "Maybe I need to go home and re-think a few basic principles." That's probably a good indicator that it was a good book. I don't know how to feel, hey.
Didn't like it. It seemed like it was written in the 1970s; there were TONS of references to the Vietnam War which are so outdated it was ridiculous. Also, the philosophy behind the premise was extremely difficult to follow.
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Ivan Illich was an Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest and critic of the institutions of contemporary western culture and their effects of the provenance and practice of education, medicine, work, energy use, and economic development.
More about Ivan Illich...
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“Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being "with it," yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.” 70 likes
“School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age.” 39 likes
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