Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How to tell if it's a human culture

Donald E. Brown is an American anthropologist who's done interesting work on the theory that there are universals within human culture: aspects which every human culture has. Brown's work points out that in every culture, for example, there are differentiated gender roles (such as sex differences in spatial cognition and behavior, and division of labor by sex).

In the 1970s, there were those who argued that feminism would bring on an age in which, for example, women would play professional football. Such ideas are so idiotic that it's difficult to believe that anyone thought it true, but there are those who still believe them. But there are universals that hold true. We can tinker with the edges of human culture, but most things remain the same, through both geography and time.

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