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Human Universals

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews
This book covers physical and behavioural characteristics that can be considered universal among all cultures and people. The text is divided into three parts: the problems posed for anthropology by universals; six important studies that have forced anthropologists to rethink; and the distinctions between linguistic, cultural and social universals.
Paperback, 230 pages
Published (first published April 1st 1991)
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Abu Dhabi Well, I'm not going to tell you to pirate it, but I bought mine on ebay. You can get them at like 50 bucks apiece.

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3.83  · 
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 ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Bob Nichols
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Brown provides a detailed history of how anthropology has resisted the notion of human universals. He summarizes the prevailing (1991) paradigm in anthropology as follows: All that is meaningful in human behavoir is influenced (determined?) by sociological and cultural forces. To the extent that we have a common human nature, it involves our animal nature and, as that is in common to all, it is not significant in its influence over the evident variety we see in human affairs.

Brown does a good jo
Steven Peterson
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Are there universals in human behavior? If so, what might these behaviors include? Those are key questions posed--and answered--by Brown. To illustrate, these are among his "universal behaviors": males engage in coalitional violence, oligarchy, dominance and submission behavior, leaders, economic inequality, prestige inequality. One can always question judgments as to what comprises universal human behavior. But the cataloging by Brown is a useful step and sure to generate discussion.
Thomas Ciszek
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anthrolpologists
Recommended to Thomas by: Gery W. Ryan
Shelves: research
Likely the authoritative anthropological work describing global cultural universals. Dr. Brown defines clearly and discusses the history of the study of human universals from the standpoint of sociobiology.
Mark Miller
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Most of the book is an exhaustive review of the history of the concept of universals within anthropology, and the controversy around it. The last third talks about a few examples of universals that have been found, which have strong evidence.

The most compelling part came at the end, where Brown turned the method of study in anthropology on anthropology itself, analyzing why the field came to its early conclusions, making culture an irreducible subject, and why later a minority of anthropologists
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant work by an anthropologist willing to re-think the dominant orthodoxy of his day (1991) that all human behavior is culturally determined and relative. Of course, we know now how much is universal and determined by the collision of DNA and environment, but Brown was taking on the whole anthropology establishment when he wrote this fascinating book. The only downside is the amount of genuflecting he has to do because it is an academic book. The guts of his insight are in Chapter 6, "The ...more
Eduardo Garcia-Gaspar
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: filosofía
El énfasis está en el descubrimiento de diferencias entre culturas, a más diferencias mayores méritos científicos del investigador. ¿Por qué no tomar la otra ruta y no olvidarse de las similitudes entre culturas? Son muchas más que las diferencias y eso muestra algo.
Sartaj Bakht
Nov 02, 2014 marked it as to-read
Jeff Pullinger
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dry. but very very very interesting
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