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Ivan Illich on Commons, the Vernacular, Subsistence... as Realms of Conviviality

Tools for Conviviality (1973) In some respects a key text revolving around conviviality, the guiding theme through the entire work of Ivan Illich, articulating his criticism of the role of technocracy in shaping an alienated society. Conviviality is a term borrowed from Latin-American spoken language and 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. The counter-productivity of institutions, appearing at well-defined historical watersheds, is a necessary correlate of their increased productivity, which is claimed to motivate their existence.
The Right to useful unemployment (1977) A defence of subsistence against paid and shadow work and against dominant professions imputing the need for unneeded commodities upon the citizens.
Vernacular Values (Shadow Work) (1980) Articles from CoEvolution Quarterly, the basis for Shadow Work. Professionals have taken over things people used to do for themselves - even learning their own language. "The modernized poor are those whose vernacular domain... is most restricted".
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 fictive 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.
Das Recht auf Gemeinheit (1982) Introduction of formal, artificial,fixed, universal, taught language (mother tongue) in the 15th Century to replace local, natural speaking (vernacular).
Silence is a Commons (1983) Electronic media transform silence and language from commons to a resource open to competition.
Declaration on Soil (1990)
Philosophy... Artifacts... Friendship (1996)
Rivers North of the Future 2005
- Proportionality

Taught Mother Tongue and Nation State: The invention of standard Spanish, the first language that people were taught to speak (3.25 minutes recording).


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