Conviviality – a principle easy to comprehend but hard to implement!

When discussing the future of information society, we will discuss at the same time about society at a more general level. We will refer to shortcomings or malfunctions of current societal developments and to what sociologists call mechanisms that might help society overcome the state of affairs.

The session “How do we want to live and how do we get there?” will directly address these questions.

It will start with the Manifeste convivialiste, a Déclaration d’interdépendance.



Convivialism is a term going back to Ivan Illich‘s 1973 book “Tools for Conviviality”. Born in Vienna in 1923, he stayed much of his life time in Latin America, which made him take the perspective of the so-called Third World. Western values should not be imposed. He was a priest with unorthodox views, an alternative pedagogue and a critical philosopher of technology. Technology should be made into tools that help humans flourish rather than make them slaves of machines.

French economist Marc Humbert organised in 2010 a conference in Tokyo to start revisiting Illich. About 40 French intellectuals, coming from different backgrounds, held a discussion for years and agreed to publish that manifesto. It’s a plea for a dynamic balance between individualism and collectivism, for the right of the individual to compete with others as long as it is not detrimental to the collective. That’s the essence of convivialism.

Among the authors of the Manifeste is Edgar Morin, philosopher and sociologist, who authored the book “La Voie – Pour l’avenir de l’humanité” and published together with Stéphane Hessel, the author of “Indignez-vous!”. In 2012 Morin visited Austria to receive the first Ludwig von Bertalanffy Award for Complexity Thinking from the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science.

Another author is Chantal Mouffe who published with Ernesto Laclau. She is famous for her idea of agonistic pluralism – an idea the spirit of which you can find in the text of the Manifeste.

Sociologist Frank Adloff is co-editor of the German edition. Both Humbert and Adloff will present at our Summit alternative visions of society.

The session will take place on 4 June 2015.

To read the manifesto go to the track description.

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