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Books by Ivan Illich

Deschooling Society (1970) An analysis of the counter-productivity of modern education systems, which are a model for centralized consumer society.
Tools for Conviviality (1973)
In some respects a key text around conviviality as a guiding theme through the entire work of Ivan Illich, articulating his criticism of the role of technocracy in shaping an alienated society. Conviviality as a term borrowed from Latin American spoken language means basically living together in a non-alienated community, as opposed to a society dominated by modern institutions relying on expertise. Modern institutions must be analysed and shown to be counter-productive on their own terms. Counter-productivity is a necessary consequence of increased productivity, which is used as an argument to justify the existence of institutions.
Energy and Equity (1973) Analysis of the counterproductivity of modern transportation systems. "Above a threshold, energy grows at the expense of equity
". Ivan Illich argues that it is essential to limit speed, if one wants equity.
Medical Nemesis (1976) An analysis of the counter-productivity of modern health systems. Modern medicine appropriates the monopoly on health by devaluing death and suffering.
The Right to Useful Unemployment (1977) A defence of subsistence against paid and shadow work.

Disabling Professions (1977) A pleading against alienating expert institutions.
Toward a History of Needs (1978) An analysis of the generation of needs as the foundation of modern economy as management of scarcity.
Shadow Work (1981) The notion of shadow work was developed by Ivan Illich to denote alienating unpaid work within a context of paid work as opposed to convivial subsistence work independent of a context of paid work.
Gender (1982) The book introduces the distinction between gender and sex and claims the repression of gender on behalf of sex in modernity. Gender denotes the polarity of feminine and masculine shaping what we call a person. Sex is the opposite: the differentiation of the feminine and masculine out of a neutral entity. Sex is a modern construct which has the purpose to make an economy of scarcity possible. Gender must be rediscovered as the realm of convivial society.
H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness (1985) Contrasts water as a chemical substance intended for cleaning with water as a metaphor for forgetting and remembering. Short version in In the mirror of the past.
ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind (
The genesis of literacy as a process of alienation.
In the Vineyard of the Text (1993) The genesis of lay literacy. Short versions in In the Mirror of the Past. Link gives samples only.

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