• +61 (2) 9487 4822
  • Search
  • Sign in

Human Universals

Donald E. Brown, 1991, Temple University Press Philadelphia ISBN: 0-87722-841-8

For many years anthropologists have looked into human behaviour and human culture through the filter of looking for the difference. If you were a student of anthropology before the year 2000, chances are you would have completed your doctorate by travelling to some far flung location, finding a tribe who still lives the hunter gatherer lifestyle and then written your thesis on how they are different to other cultures … most likely your own.

To look at our fellow humans through this lens is to miss half the picture. On one level we are all different. At the risk of stating the obvious … everyone is an individual. On another level … we are all the same. Every culture on earth shares certain behaviours.

In his book “Human Universals,” Donald E. Brown conducts a Meta study of the anthropological literature to establish the existence of universals and then builds an astonishing list of the behaviours that are universal to us all across cultures, history and geography. It is a very interesting list.