Deconstructing Institutional Narratives and Building Institutional Alternatives: The Legacy of Ivan Illich and the Center for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC) (1961-1976)

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2023-04-20

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This thesis examines the combined theories and histories of humanist radical thinker Ivan Illich and the alternative educational institution, the Center for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC), founded in 1967 in Cuernavaca, Mexico. By analyzing this history through a lens of alternative institutionality, I evaluate and examine how its institutional critiques were actualized at CIDOC and what lessons can be taken from this endeavor. This thesis utilizes Illich’s theory of institutionalization to analyze how CIDOC attempted to implement structural solutions to the alienating and professionalizing relationships of education fostered by the schooling process by creating alternative institutional life. I first study Illich’s work on institutionalization by tracing the influences and development of his earliest thought and life. I then provide a historical account of CIDOC to provide context for how the “schooling” structure of learning was reimagined in this institution and how this attempt ran counter to the deeply embedded institutional narratives of progress and development of the industrial age. Finally, I weigh the limitations and opportunities that arise from building alternative institutions like CIDOC toward the end of creating new social relationships of learning and promoting broader social change. Building on how the relationship between individuals and their learning shape the broader society, these histories ultimately grapple with the question of how to build societal institutions that can avert the alienating dangers of institutionalization while maintaining their counter-institutionality—the avenue toward building a different society.

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Beza-Juarez, Rachel (2023). Deconstructing Institutional Narratives and Building Institutional Alternatives: The Legacy of Ivan Illich and the Center for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC) (1961-1976). Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27134.


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