Anthropology should be compulsory at GCSE


The modern industrial world as we know it is only 300 years old.

This shallow history does not suggest to me that we have all the answers to all the challenges that will confront us in the ensuing millennia.

The cultures we think of as remote are not remote at all.

They are homelands of somebody, they represent branches of the human imagination that go back to the dawn of time.

“When these myriad cultures of the world are asked what it is to be human they answer with 1000 voices, and it is within that thong that we will all discover the possibility of what we are” – Wade Davis.

Wage Davis defines the ‘ethnosphere’ as being the sum total of all thoughts, dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness.

The ethnosphere is humanity’s great legacy, it’s a symbol of all that we are and all that we can be as an astonishing, inquisitive species.

Davis runs the National Geographic because he believes that governments won’t do enough to protect the capacity for cultural accumulation a diverse population permits mankind.

He hopes that by being good story tellers, the National Geographic can take their audience to places of such cultural wonder that they will come away dazzled by what they have seen, and hopefully embrace gradually the central revelation of anthropology:

The world in which we live in does not exist in an absolute sence, it is just one model of reality.

The consequence of one set of adaptive choices that our lineage made up – all be it successfully, many generations ago. A multicultural, pluralistic world allows the wisdom of all Peoples can contribute to our collective wellbeing. 



There are 6000 languages spoken today, but around half of these languages will not survive to the next generation. For 3000 cultures effectively defined by these languages, this is the end of the road. It is important to remember that each of these cultures embody more than just language differences, tied up in how the brain processes information – they see the world differently.

If all children learnt social sciences at school, they would not only develop more love for fellow man, but it would also drive an appreciation for diverse global and local cultures.

Difference drives change and diversity provides flexibility in the face of new challenges. This is what we need, its worth hanging on to and more people need to be know that.

Its more valuable than the currently compulsory French GCSE.