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The Prophet of CuernavacaIvan Illich and the Crisis of the West$
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Todd Hartch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190204563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204563.001.0001

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Breaking the Spell

Breaking the Spell

(p.123) Chapter eight Breaking the Spell
The Prophet of Cuernavaca

Todd Hartch

Oxford University Press

Ivan Illich’s books, such as Deschooling Society and Medical Nemesis, sought to expose the deadly institutions of the West. He argued that schooling had become counterproductive and that modern medicine threatened real health. More generally, Illich believed that institutionalization was destroying and dehumanizing the West. The bureaucratic-administrative impulse had become so strong that Westerners increasingly had trouble living outside of the “hygienic mega-womb” of the school and other totalizing institutions. The books proved quite popular in the United States and Europe and Illich became a sort of intellectual celebrity.

Keywords:   Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, Medical Nemesis, institutions, schooling, medicine, health, intellectual history

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