The Challenges of Ivan Illich

A Collective Reflection

Edited by Lee Hoinacki & Carl Mitcham

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9780791454220, 266 pages, July 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454213, 266 pages, July 2002

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Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


1. Reading Ivan Illich
Lee Hoinacki

2. The Challenges of This Collection
Carl Mitcham


3. Ivan Illich as We Knew Him in the 1950s
Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, S. J.

4. The Adventure of Publishing Ivan Illich
Marion Boyars

5. On Ivan Illich and His Friends
John L. McKnight

6. Ivan Illich at the Wissenschaftskolleg
Gesine Bottomley

7. In the Shadow of Jerome
Domenico Farias


8. Economy, Subsistence, and Psychological Inquiry
Robert Kugelmann

9. ABC Redux: Or Literacy Matters. And How!
Barry Sanders

10. Ivan Illich's Concept of "Rests": Glimpses of a World Past
David B. Schwartz

11. Hospitality Cannot Be a Challenge
Alfons Garrigós


12. The Mess We're In: How Ivan Illich Revealed to Me That the American Dream Is Actually a Nightmare
Aaron Falbel

13. A Letter on Studying with Master Illich
Madhu Suri Prakash

14. From the Economy to Friendship: My Years Studying Ivan Illich
Eugene J. Burkart

15. Don Quixote in the Contemporary Global Tragicomedy
Alastair Hulbert


16. Energy and the Mystery of Iniquity
Jean Robert

17. Detour and Sacrifice: Ivan Illich and René Girard
Jean-Pierre Dupuy

18. Ivan Illich's Break with the Past
Pieter Tijmes

19. The Quest for Past Somatics
Barbara Duden


20. The Cultivation of Conspiracy
Ivan Illich



Original essays explore the thought and influence of philosopher, educator, social critic, and theologian Ivan Illich.


This unique collection examines the man Utne Reader has called "the greatest social critic of the twentieth century. " The essays—all by people Illich has influenced personally—discuss how his life and thought have affected conceptualization, study, and practice of psychotherapy, notions about education, ideas concerning the historical development of the text, perceptions of technology, as well as other topics. All of Illich's books are discussed and his ideas on education, theology, technology, anarchism, and society are examined in relationship to those of René Girard, Karl Polanyi, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Ellul. Illich's previously unpublished paper offering a new view of conspiracy in European history is included.

Lee Hoinacki is an independent scholar in residence at St. Malachy's, Philadelphia, and the author of El Camino: Walking to Santiago de Compostela; Stumbling Toward Justice: Stories of Place; and Dying Is Not Death. Carl Mitcham is Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies at the Colorado School of Mines and author of Thinking through Technology: The Path between Engineering and Philosophy and other works of critical reflection on science and technology.


"…highly recommend[ed] … to all those who have been challenged by Illich's writing over the years, and to anyone who would like to be introduced to the works of someone whose friends so appreciated being challenged by his words and deeds that they published a book in his honour even before he died. " — Environments

"This is an excellent summary of how the life and ideas of Ivan Illich, one of the most iconoclastic and brilliant public intellectuals of the twentieth century, influenced the lives and careers of important philosophers, scholars, and social activists. The personal narratives illuminate the impact of Illich's ideas in the spheres of religion, education, and grassroots social movements. " — Robert F. Arnove, coeditor of Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local