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Cultural Universals & Human Nature -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Wagner, Geraldine;

2009 / EBSCO


This article defines and discusses the relationship between cultural universals and human nature. Social scientists, in particular sociologists and anthropologists, believe that culture completely determines human behavior; that there is no such thing as instinct in humans. In other words, without a social context, a being cannot become "human" because there is more nurture than nature in the making of a human being. Within social groups, distinct cultures emerge and throughout the world, these groups are viewed based on their cultural diversity. However, there are important patterns that are found in all cultures, which are known as cultural, or human, universals. Several examples of these universals are explored here, such as kinship and family, language, gender differences and religion.