Ivan Illich on Shadow Work

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* Article: SHADOW -WORK. Ivan Illich. Philosophica 26,1980 (2), Pp. 7-46.

URL = https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Illich-Shadow-work.pdf


Ivan Illich on Shadow Work :

"In this essay, I want to explore why, in an industrial society, this apartheid must be; why without apartheid based on sex or pigmecntation, on certification or race, or party membership, a society built on the assumption of scarcity cannot exist. And to approach the unexamined forms of apartheid in concrete terms, I want to speak about the fundamental bifurcation of work that is implicit in the industrial mode of production. I have chosen as my theme the shady side of industrial economy , more specifically, the shady side of work. I do not mean badly paid work, nor unemployment5; I mean unpaid work. The unpaid work which is unique to the industrial economy is my theme. In most societies men and women together have maintained and regenerated the subsistence of their households by unpaid activities. The household created most of what the household needed to exist6• These so-called subsistence activities are not the subject of my lecture. My interest is in that entirely different form of unpaid work which an industrial society demands as a necessary complement to the production of goods and services. This kind of unpaid servitude does not contribute to subsistence. Quite the contrary, equally with wage-labor, it ravages subsistence."