Portal:Society

The Society Portal

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva


A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Societies construct patterns of behavior by deeming certain actions or speech as acceptable or unacceptable. These patterns of behavior within a given society are known as societal norms. Societies, and their norms, undergo gradual and perpetual changes.

Insofar as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap. A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively within criminology.

More broadly, and especially within structuralist thought, a society may be illustrated as an economic, social, industrial or cultural infrastructure, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than "other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social environment.

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Young residents in the Bunun village of Lona, Taiwan
Taiwanese aborigines are the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Although each group holds a variety of creation stories, contemporary research suggests their ancestors may have been living on the islands for approximately 8,000 years before major Han Chinese immigration began in the 1600s. The Taiwanese Aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Oceania. For centuries Taiwan's Aboriginal peoples experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of conquering peoples. Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage and other dispassionate intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity. The bulk of contemporary Taiwanese Aborigines reside in the mountains and the cities. Many Aboriginal groups are actively seeking a higher degree of political self-determination and economic development since the early 1980s.

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Calydonian BoarCredit: Engraving: François Louis Lonsing, after Giulio Romano; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

A 1773 engraving showing the Greek legend of the Calydonian Boar, which was sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods. Many Olympian heroes took part in hunting the boar, and it was eventually killed by Meleager and Atalanta, as depicted here.

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Tuareg people

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890–1998) was an American journalist, writer, feminist, and environmentalist known for her staunch defense of the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development. Moving to Miami as a young woman to work for The Miami Herald, Douglas became a freelance writer, producing over a hundred short stories that were published in popular magazines. Her most influential work was the book The Everglades: River of Grass, which redefined the popular conception of the Everglades as a treasured river instead of a worthless swamp; its impact has been compared to that of the influential 1962 book Silent Spring. Her books, stories, and journalism career brought her influence in Miami, which she used to advance her causes. Douglas lived until age 108, working until nearly the end of her life for Everglades restoration. Upon her death, an obituary in The Independent in London stated, "In the history of the American environmental movement, there have been few more remarkable figures than Marjory Stoneman Douglas."

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A very early wax cylinder recording (October 5, 1888) of composer Arthur Sullivan. It was created in London by George Gouraud as an audio letter to be sent back to Edison.

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Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

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