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Did Ivan Illich apologize for being part of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico or his subsequent teaching at different universities? At some point he formed the opinion that schools cannot not help students. Did he have this opinion when he was a young adult or was it something that he gradually came to believe?

How did Illich reconcile his love of the Catholic Church with its many schools when he himself was so opposed to schools?

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    Why exactly should he apologize? If one wishes to bring about social change one has to work through the existing institutions, even if they envision abolishing them. Karl Marx also earned his living in a capitalist system, unapologetically. – Conifold Mar 11 at 21:33
  • I made some edits mainly of tags. You may roll these back or continue editing. I remember reading Illich in the 60s and 70s. This was during an economic downturn and I think that is why his work was popular then. That his work is popular today makes me wonder if there is another economic downturn going on. – Frank Hubeny Mar 11 at 22:53
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According to Wikipedia Ivan Illich opposed "institutionalized education" or "compulsory mass education", but he favored "self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid informal arrangements".

It may be a misrepresentation of his position to simply say he was "so opposed to schools" unless one clarifies that what he was opposed to was an institutionalization of society one example of which was mandatory public education. Another example of this institutionalization that he did not favor could be found in his book Medical Nemesis.

He favored "learning webs". His language school, training for missionaries to Latin America and sessions of seminars at Cuernavaca in Mexico (Centro Intercultural de Documentatión) may have been an attempt to illustrate how a de-institutionalization could be accomplished. One might look at libraries and these stack exchanges as learning webs.

The OP asks this question:

How did Illich reconcile his love of the Catholic Church with its many schools when he himself was so opposed to schools?

Having schools is not the problem. Rather the problem is institutionalized, compulsory mass education. So his position need not be directed against the schools run by organizations such as the Catholic Church as long as they did not encourage an institutionalization of society.


Wikipedia contributors. (2019, January 21). Ivan Illich. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:10, March 11, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ivan_Illich&oldid=879396399

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