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Cultural Universals: Definition

How can the identification of cultural universals impact our understanding of what it means to be human? How does the search for universals help us better understand human cultural behaviour? Which examples can illustrate the ideas that our behaviors are impacted by more than our biology? Use your own experience in life to support the answers.

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Some cultural universals include: kinship groups, music, cooking, dance, magical thinking, figurative and symbolic language, collective identities, and play. There a lot more "cultural universals," though it is important to note than many (not the above) are highly contested: early Anthropologists are often critiqued for identifying "universals" which aren't truly universal, based on their prejudices/biases/perspective, like marriage and patriarchy.

1.) Identifying cultural universals can help us understand the human condition on a larger scale. Different groups, countries, religions, genders, races, ethnic groups, age groups, sexual orientations, etc. all share certain human traits; this knowledge reminds us that despite our obvious and sometimes violent differences, we share fundamental ...

Solution Summary

This solution aims to answer the following question: what is a cultural universal? As a way of addressing this issue, I have provided several examples of cultural universals and discussed the issues surrounding universalism in Anthropology.

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