A Cultural Universal

Topics: Culture, Anthropology, Sociology Pages: 2 (332 words) Published: June 22, 2011
A cultural universal (as discussed by George Murdock, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others) is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide. Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations.[1] Some anthropological 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 in the "nature versus nurture" controversy. Some of the cultural universals would include Appearance, Belief System, Communication, Dates, Entertainment, Food, Government, Homes, Jobs, Kind of Environment, and Language and cognition. Ethnocentrism is viewing one’s own culture as superior to all other cultures Brown further develops his classification of universals into four types; near universals such as fire and keeping domestic dogs; conditional universals such that if a culture values handedness it usually chooses the right hand; statistical universals such as using the words for “little person” in unrelated languages the the pupil of the eye; and universal pools such as limited set of sematic contrasts such as sex and generation used to describe the kinship systems of most societies. Cognitive anthropologists have searched for universals through studying the way people classify plants, animals, and colors. Universal’s affect the way we socially and independently behave; also with a strong influence in what we believe religiously. It affects our perspective or our view on life and its path we take. Culture is a web of values, meanings, and behavior that is deeply embedded in our experience of daily life and shared with others who belong to the same group. Cultural universals are anything that is part of every culture, but varies from culture to culture. Some...
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