Ivan Illich on Literacy

ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind (1988)
The genesis of literacy as a process of alienation.
Text and University - on the idea and history of a unique institution (1991)
In the Mirror of the Past (1992):
- A Plea for Research on Lay Literacy
The visualisation of speech makes reading independent of speaking. The separation of text from sound generates lay literacy and the internalisation of a fixed sense of identity. This process is due to the introduction of alphabetic notation and is completed in the 12th Century. Ivan Illich calls for a better knowledge of lay literacy.

- Mnemosyne: The Mold of Memory Lay literacy, the result of the separation of writing from voice, is being suppressed by computerization through the separation of text from meaning. Like text, the modern word for writing independent of voice, communication is the new word for text independent of meaning. Ivan Illich calls to resist an internalisation of communication producing the loss of the sense of self, similar to the internalisation of text linking the self to a fixed identity.

- Computer Literacy and the Cybernetic Dream
An analysis of computerisation.
In the Vineyard of the Text (1993)
The genesis of lay literacy. Short versions in In the mirror of the past.
Abstract  In a work with profound implications for the electronic age, Ivan Illich explores how revolutions in technology affect the way we read and understand text. Examining the Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor, Illich celebrates the culture of the book from the twelfth century to the present. Hugh's work, at once an encyclopedia and guide to the art of reading, reveals a twelfth-century revolution as sweeping as that brought about by the invention of the printing press and equal in magnitude only to the changes of the computer age—the transition from reading as a vocal activity done in the monastery to reading as a predominantly silent activity performed by and for individuals.
To Honor Jacques Ellul (1993) The invention of lay literacy was a step toward the "subversion of the Gospel" and technocracy.

Du Lisible au Visible: The medieval philosopher Hugh of St. Victor. Recording in French.


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