Sociologist Ivan Illich Dies at 76

BERLIN (AP)--Ivan Illich, a renowned sociologist who protested against the institutionalization of learning and religion, has died, a former university colleague said Wednesday. He was 76.

Illich--best known for his 1971 publication ``De-Schooling Society''--died Monday in the northern German city of Bremen, where he had lectured in sociology for the past decade, said Johannes Beck, a professor at the university. He did not give the cause of death.

Illich was born in Vienna, Austria in 1926. He was forced to leave school in 1941 under Nazi race laws because of his mother's Jewish ancestry, and went to Italy. There, he studied in Florence and at Rome's Gregorian University before returning to Austria and obtaining a doctorate in history from the University of Salzburg.

He entered the Roman Catholic priesthood and, from 1951 to 1956, served in New York City as an assistant pastor, championing the cause of Puerto Rican immigrants. From 1956 until 1960, he was the deputy rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

Still, Illich increasingly rebelled against the church, which he viewed as too bureaucratic. He left the priesthood in 1969, during a period in which he produced his best-known works.

Reflecting his discomfort with organized religion, Illich argued that school made people dumb, and the legal system, rather than providing people with solutions, heightened their frustration.

``This was of course somewhat exaggerated,'' said Beck. ``Illich was a provocateur, someone who sought controversy.''

Illich argued that even science was being strangled by institutionalization.

``Science had for him simply usurped the church, and scientists represented nothing other than a secularized priesthood,'' Beck said.

Details of funeral arrangements and survivors were not immediately available.

AP-NY-12-04-02 1112EST

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