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Chapter 1. Humankind: Current Societal Debates

  • Universal Postulates Everywhere!
  • Popular Universality in Visual Media: “The Family of Man”
  • Normative Universalism

Chapter 2. A World of Cultures: Their Differences and Likenesses

  • Finding Patterns in Diversity: George Peter Murdock and Donald Edward Brown
  • Universals as Subject Matter: Concept, Terms and Metaphors
  • Universals do matter: The Relevance of Universals in General and for Cultural Studies
  • Universals in Cultural Anthropology Today: the forgotten Half in the Science of Humanity

Chapter 3. Cultures and Human Nature: Human Beings are biologically Cultural

  • The Nexus of Intra-cultural Diversity and Universals
  • Human Nature and the Proper Image of Who We Are
  • Homo sapiens: Uniqueness versus Special Status

Chapter 4. Universals: Examples from Several Realms

  • Qualifying Remarks
  • Narration and Expressive Culture
  • Sociality
  • Worldview and Images of Humanity
  • Rituals and Beliefs
  • Cognition and Knowledge
  • Languages and Speaking
  • Behavior and Experience
  • Gender, Sexuality and Social Reproduction

Chapter 5. Methods: Deduction, Case Studies and Comparison

  • Finding Potential Candidates and Deducing from Theory
  • Case Studies: Testing Postulated Universals
  • Concepts beyond Cultural Bias?
  • Inventories of Universals
  • Evaluating Lists of Universals and Holistic Forms of Representation
  • Cross-cultural Comparison
  • Cross-species Comparison

Chapter 6. Taxonomy: The Forms, Levels and Depth of Universals

  • Levels, Spheres and Time Frame
  • Substance and Depth
  • Degree of Universality
  • Conditional Universals and other Specific Forms
  • Relations between basic Anthropological Orientations

Chapter 7. Toward Explanation: Why do Universals exist?

  • Ten Pitfalls in Research and in Anti-universalism
  • Systematics of Explanatory Approaches
  • Cultural Contact: Universals through Cultural Transfer and Diffusion
  • Function, Convergence and Structural Implication: Emerging Universals through Real-Life Circumstances
  • Evolution: Universals Based on Adaptation
  • Complex Causes

Chapter 8. Critical Positions: Arguments against Universalism

  • Reification, Hidden Syllogisms and Implicit Primitivity
  • Relativist and Empirical Criticisms
  • Fundamental Criticism: Charges of Eurocentrism and Hegemony

Chapter 9. Synthesis: Human Universals and the Human Sciences


Our Common Denominator

Human Universals Revisited

Christoph Antweiler
Translated from the German by Diane Kerns

364 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-093-3 Hb Published (April 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-094-0 eBook