We often see that our teens step into “the real world” with a very shallow knowledge about social structures, and generally have difficulties when it comes to building long lasting bonds with people that come cultural environments that are very different than their own. It is quite unfortunate that very few schools really stress the importance of studying culture with a rigorous academic approach. Our children are usually presented with a very sensationalist view of world cultures, very little is done in regard to teaching our students the way in which culture forms, and what it evolves in a particular way over the course of centuries.
What do Anthropologists
Anthropology can do more for our children than offering them with some declarative knowledge that they will pretty surely forget in a short time, it can help our children with seeing the complexity of social dynamic, the way in which identities form and evolve, and which are the exact factors which determine the uniqueness of each culture.
Often social studies classes just present children other cultures in their present state, a culture is presented as a flat surface, totally homogenous, not as a framework containing different elements that interact with each other, and each element would influence more/or less different segments of social life.
Many of us would wonder which would be the utility of such a class beyond walls of the classroom. Anthropology can give a child a very good sense of social order, and which are the roots of social chaos. This field isn’t interested in studying only what we traditionally refer to as ethnicities, it also tries to give some insight when it comes to crystallization and evolution micro-groups, such us our group of friend, our families, or medium-sized communities, the neighborhood in which we live is a good example.
Highly Important For Children
It is highly important for children to understand how other peoples evolved over the course of time, this way they will be able to see certain patterns, and red flags, which can indicate that a society is on the verge of a collapse. We can see that many teens are getting more involved with organizations that militate for human rights, or which finance various development projects in underdeveloped nations.
I came across teens that they felt that something is going wrong within these groups due to the fact that very little changes could be noticed in the communities that they assisted. There is a general lack of anthropological knowledge in our society, which makes us vulnerable to false information, and hidden intentions, that often masquerade themselves as life-changing projects for the needy.
A child that has a little bit of knowledge about anthropology won’t join an NGO that gives free food in sub-Saharan Africa but will rather join an NGO that helps communities to develop a local economy and infrastructure.
He will be able to put in context many of the information about the social climate from other countries that we are bombarded daily through the mass media.
He will understand the inequalities present in the world, but in the same time, he will know they resulted from a multitude of causes, this way he will have a more pragmatic approach toward solving them.
He will understand the different social pathologies present in cultures that are situated on the total opposite side of the spectrum, he will understand that there is a social cost for everything, both positive and negative.
Knowledge and Skills
Anthropology will help him develop better social skills in culturally diverse environments, thus giving him the possibility to build a career abroad.
Anthropology is not interested in playing the blame game, it is not interested in finding victims and bullies, it is solely interested in mapping those elements that make a culture function, better or worse.
And last, a child that knows anthropology will take greater responsibility in taking an active role in solving his community’s problems, as a result of the fact that he has a more structured understanding of the roots of many issues.