Cultural universal

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"Human universals" redirects here. For the 1991 anthropology book, see Human Universals.

A cultural universal (also called an anthropological universal or human universal), as discussed by Emile Durkheim, George Murdock, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others, is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide. Taken together, the whole body of cultural universals is known as the human condition. Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations.[1] Some anthropological and sociological theorists that take a cultural relativist perspective may deny the existence of cultural universals: the extent to which these universals are "cultural" in the narrow sense, or in fact biologically inherited behavior is an issue of "nature versus nurture".

In his book Human Universals (1991), Donald Brown defines human universals as comprising "those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exception", providing a list of 67 items.[2]

General[edit]

The emergence of these universals dates to the Upper Paleolithic, with the first evidence of full behavioral modernity.

List of cultural universals[edit]

Among the cultural universals listed by Brown (1991) are:

Language and cognition[edit]

Main article: Linguistic universal

Society[edit]

Myth, ritual and aesthetics[edit]

Further information: Myth and ritual

Technology[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schacter, Daniel L, Daniel Wegner and Daniel Gilbert. 2007. Psychology. Worth Publishers. pp. 26–27
  2. ^ http://stpeter.im/journal/158.html

Bibliography[edit]