The War on Subsistence: The Thought of Ivan Illich

David Cayley

The first of these two seminars introduced Ivan Illich's thought. It traced the emergence and elaboration of his critique of the modern institutions of economic development, schooling, and medicine; examined his attempts to write a constitutions of limits for modern societies; and followed the implications of his growing awareness during the 1980's and after that the world he had hoped to reform was fast passing out of existence.

The second seminar looked at Illich's understanding of Christianity, and his hypothesis that the origins of our world lie in a corruption of Christian freedom. "Wherever I look for the roots of modernity," Illich said,. "I find it in attempts of the churches to institutionalize and manage Christian vocation."


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