Jeremy Wineberg's Reviews > Deschooling Society

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
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's review
Aug 16, 08

bookshelves: nonfiction, culture, philosophy

While there is a lot of outdated information here, particularly in the first few pages where Illich is setting up a context for his argument, the basic of tenants of his argument make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 consumers to compete for the power to deplete the earth, to fill their own swelling bellies, to discipline smaller consumers, and to deactivate those who still find satifaction in making do with what they have. The ethos of nonsaity is thus at the root of physical depredation, social polarization, and psychological passivity." (p113)

The section on learning webs, which I was most looking forward to, was underwhelming, especially in light of everything that's happened since 1970. Not sure how much of Illich is behind all of that, but his understanding of how we learn and what place that has in our society makes one aware of the lack of unstructured time and how detrimental play is to learning.
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