Elementary Social Studies Should Include More Cultural Anthropology
"Anthropology sees that what gets lost in such particular perspectives, such discipinary perspectives, is the interconnectedness of it all, of life, of the human condition. One aspect of human behavior is influenced by and influences other spheres. We know this instinctively in a way. Politics is tied to religion. Economics is tied to psychology. Biology is tied to social organization. And this is all tied together with the glue of culture. Again, this is something we intuitively recognize I think. One's religion affects the way one votes, for example. Politics affects religion, religion affects politics. I was reading, uh, not long ago actually, that church attendance is a better indication of party affiliation in the United States than income is. But anyway, this is something that we as academics can easily forget, the interrelatedness of it all, as we work away in our increasingly narrow, uh, perspectives and specialization. Thus, a basic tenant of anthropology is its holistic approach, looking at the whole of the human condition and not just one aspect."
Through the lens of cultural anthropology, we become familiar with and learn to accept and respect differences. We learn to see patterns, make connections, find similarities in differences, and look beyond borders for answers. We learn to appreciate the complexity and interrelatedness of all systems, both cultural and biological. We learn how various communities function, and we can use that knowledge to critically examine our own communities ("communities," by the way, can be replaced in that sentence by any cultural institution).
With all of this knowledge, we can put discreet disciplines in their proper context. While it can be academically useful to study the world in discreet chunks, the world is not actually made up of hermetically sealed systems of information that function independently of other hermetically sealed systems of information.
While there ARE benefits to be gained in knowledge specialization, it is to society's detriment if we don't first prepare children with the roadmap of how it all connects, how WE all connect. And not just one year. But year after year after year. Like math. Like history. It's just as important.
I'll leave you with this: Take two minutes and imagine what kind of world we might live in if an understanding of the interconnected human condition was as immutable and well-known as the oft quoted "2+2?"
Originally written by VictoryGrey from Dysamoria.com