67 Human Universals

Donald E. Brown, emeritus professor of anthropology, is best known for his theoretical work regarding the existence, characteristics and relevance of universals of human nature. In his book ‘Human Universals’ he says these universals, comprise those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exceptions. According to Brown, the following 67 universals are unique to humans: age-grading, athletic sports, bodily adornment, calendar, cleanliness training, community organization, cooking, cooperative labor, cosmology, courtship, dancing, decorative art, divination, division of labor, dream interpretation, education, eschatology, ethics, ethno-botany, etiquette, faith healing, family feasting, fire-making, folklore, food taboos, funeral rites, games, gestures, gift-giving, government, greetings, hair styles, hospitality, housing, hygiene, incest taboos, inheritance rules, joking, kin groups, kinship nomenclature, language, law, luck superstitions, magic, marriage, mealtimes, medicine, obstetrics, penal sanctions, personal names, population policy, postnatal care, pregnancy usages, property rights, propitiation of supernatural beings, puberty customs, religious ritual, residence rules, sexual restrictions, soul concepts, status differentiation, surgery, tool-making, trade, visiting, weather control, weaving.

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Victor Papanek

Victor Papanek is one of the founders of social design who became a strong advocate of the socially and ecologically responsible design of products, tools, and community infrastructures. He disapproved manufactured products that were unsafe, showy, maladapted, or essentially useless. He wrote that design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments, and society and himself.


The Whole Earth Catalog

An American magazine and product catalog published by Steward Brand between 1968 and 1972, and once again in 1998. The editorial focus was onself-sufficiency, ecology, alternative education, DIY and featured the slogan ‘access to tools’. The title Whole Earth Catalog came from a previous project by Steward Brand. In 1966, he initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the satellite photo of the sphere of Earth as seen from space, the first image of the ‘Whole Earth’. He thought the image might be a powerful symbol, evoking a sense of shared destiny and adaptive strategies from people.


Man TransForms

Man Transforms: Aspects of Design 1976 -1977 Cooper Hewitt Design Museum New York with Hans Hollein’s loaves of bread, hammers and stars.