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Cultural Universals

(45 points)


There are some cultural universals or cultural elements that are found in every society. You will explore three of them.  The first is the family unit which controls reproduction and childcare.  The family unit includes the nuclear family (father, mother and children) and the extended family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins). The second universal are funeral rites which are a response to death of a community member.  Last are jokes which provide a safe means to reducing tensions within the community or society. 


Your assignment is to create a sociological representation of these three cultural elements within American society.  Using pictures, words, or examples, describe the American family unit, funeral rites, and jokes. You may submit your assignment as a poster, a PowerPoint presentation, a movie, a Word document with digital pictures or a written summary of at least a paragraph for each universal element.  


Pretend you are describing American society to someone from Mars or an aborigine tribe who has no understanding of American society.  Explain who are the participants, how they get together, how it is organized, what people do when involved in that cultural universal. Explain everything from beginning to end. Provide examples.  Each cultural element is worth 15 points.


Family Unit









Funeral Rites