Talk:Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society

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Controversiality of the topic[edit source]

I have the impression that this topic could be a bit controversial. My view is that schooling is mandatory in order to keep a society prosperous. In the ratrace for survival and the ever growing worldpopulation, good schooling is the most important prerequisite for a society to perform better than others, ie. to be able to be prosperous. Besides, invention is dependent on good education. The present worldwide problems with environmental depletion, mass poverty can only be overcome with invention.

In order to keep schooling effective, it needs to be a form of coercion, a duty to go to school for all children and being forced to learn. I work in education and i know how much coercion is required. I think it is needed.

I will try to get the book, though. I don't know what Illich tries to argue. At least it would be interesting to argue about the possibilities internet could have to improve society. I am interested in helping to create a community of people who are interested in policy making. A sort of volunteers with no interest in money or power, who can give advices about how specific issues in society can be handled. A learning process would be required with reading and discussing literature. That could be a bit like Illich want it to be.--Daanschr 11:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Daanschr: Yes, it certainly will be a controversial topic; at least I hope so :-) Hopefully during the course of the group we can start to unpack the differences and definitions of what "schooling" and "education" are (or might be) because I think that there may be some interesting reflections for us to explore in these two terms in regards to how wikis and Wikiversity in particular might emerge in a networked world; see my comments and questions in the Introduction discussion as well about the logistics of schooling in many societies that may no longer be able to support "schools" for the numbers of children that they have. The text should be available at a library in your area, or you can read it online here: Countrymike 21:48, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I will read it and discuss it.--Daanschr 09:15, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Has anyone (here) read this book? I have read most of Illich's books, although years ago (1970).

Overall critique after some reading[edit source]

Illich's main point, after reading some of his text, is that institutions refrain people from taking control over their own life, using their own morality. I prefer looking at society by focusing on social networks: family and friends especially. In order to maintain these social networks, it is necessary to keep society running. Illich doesn't see the common people spending their time with family and friends. He sees a world where strange concepts dominate and need to be overturned, in order to create a utopia that has never existed and will never exist. Illich's text is too ideological to my taste. I don't like the dramatic words he uses, like concentration camps, in order to make his point. That was the moment where i stopped reading his text and immediately moved to the conclusion. Illich is like a communist or a libertarian, with a strong desire to create the perfect society by overturning all institutions. The Soviet Union, communist China, present America show how disturbing this kind of thinking is. There is a strong desire for change, but the desired change is impossible. People are forced with violence to join the change, but the desired goal will never be achieved. It is sad.--Daanschr 15:51, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I would argue that the institution of school does little to increase the bonds between friends and family. A majority of the time children are separated from their family when they are in school. Also, children are not allowed to freely associate with friends at all points in the school-day. At the first level: children who are friends are often times separated by being placed into separate classes. If friends happen to be in the same class and are social with each other during class they are often separated in the classroom, or worse, they are punished for disrupting the class time.

I don't think that Illich wants to establish a perfect society. I believe his argument is more along the lines of: it is not possible to establish a perfect society through bureaucratic, and autocratic institutions, because those institutions are antithetical to his concept of a perfect society.

Merwan 02:06, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Structure[edit source]

I like to join in this reading group. My main focus will be to let the concept of reading clubs work. In my view, structure is needed, with a minimum of edits for active participants and a schedule in which the book discussion will take place, finishing of with a deadline when a certain goal is achieved, mostly likely the end of the discussion about a book.

I am willing to edit at least once a week in this discussion. Who is willing to do that as well?

Observations on structure[edit source]

The "structure" of the group doesn't seem to be working as well as I'd anticipated. There are now too many discussions I think going on in subpages and it is hard to track, especially seeing as Wikiversity doesn't have email notifications turned on or the ability to aggregate RSS feeds from other pages within the site. Perhaps some kind of template on the front page could be of help. Any ideas welcome. Countrymike 07:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this, Brent. Perhaps we could start making use of tools such as Dynamic Page Lists, as SB_Johnny suggests? It also might be worthwhile bringing this up on the Colloquium, where people of more diverse interests (like techies) have more of a chance of spotting it... Cormaggio talk 16:42, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Cormac, thanks for the pointer to SB's discussion (which I hope to comment on; I support his shift towards emphasizing the topic namespace). I'm looking into the DPL stuff now which looks like it could solve some of the problems in this Reading group of relying on putting ever page of the project on ones watchlist. Would be preferable to have a simpler way to view a list of just what has changed recently. Countrymike 21:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Cool. There's also "Related changes", eg Special:Recentchangeslinked/Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society. I'm still not sure what one is good for in comparison with the other - might be a question for Colloquium... Cormaggio talk 09:19, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Reactor-core text unavailable[edit source]

The version of the text that was available at seems to have been down for a few days now. I will keep checking this site or see if there isn't another version available. Countrymike 03:20, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

It's back up now. Interesting to note that the guy who is credited with "making the text available online", Paul Katz is listed as having been arrested by federal agents late 2006 (see:; but I can't find out why. He does have a blog that has some posts on de-schooling and Illich, here: Countrymike 00:30, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

The book is also here:

awesome, thanks! Countrymike

Is this book under copyright?[edit source]

Is this book under copyright?