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Portal:Society

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The Society Portal

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

A human society is a group of people related to each other through continued relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, same interests, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human 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 members. In the social sciences, a larger society often evinces stratification and/or dominance patterns in subgroups.

In so far 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: an organized group working together having a common interests, beliefs, or profession.

More broadly, a society may be described as an economic, social, or industrial infrastructure, made up of a varied collection of individuals or subgroups. Members of a society may be from different ethnic groups. A society can be a particular ethnic group, such as the Saxons; a nation state, such as Bhutan; or a broader cultural group, such as a Western society. The word society may also refer to an organized voluntary association of people for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes. A "society" may also be a group of social organisms such as an ant colony, or any cooperative aggregate such as, for example, in some formulations of artificial intelligence.

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Girl Scouts learning at NASA
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. The Girl Scout program developed from the concerns of the progressive movement in the United States from people who sought to promote the social welfare of young women and as a female counterpart to the Boy Scouts of America. It was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 and is based on the Scouting principles developed by Robert Baden-Powell. The GSUSA uses the Scout method to build self-esteem and to teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning numerous badges that can teach lifelong skills. Girl Scouts are recognized for their achievements through rank advancement and various special awards. GSUSA has programs for girls with special interests, such as water-based activities. Membership is organized according to age levels with activities appropriate to each age group.

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An Ideal Husband
Credit: Artist: Unknown; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

A scene from Oscar Wilde's 1895 play An Ideal Husband, originally published in a 1901 collected edition of Wilde's works. The comedy, which opened January 3, 1896, at the Haymarket Theatre in London, revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honour. It has been adapted into television, radio/audio, and three films. The published version differs slightly from the performed play, for Wilde added many passages and cut others. Prominent additions included written stage directions and character descriptions. Wilde was a leader in the effort to make plays accessible to the reading public.

Did you know...

An emaciated child and adult

  • ... that emaciation (pictured) is referred to as "shosha roga" in India, where more than 200 million people are affected by malnutrition?
  • ... that the Prison Officers Association threatened a job action when it was announced that both Birmingham and Oakwood Prisons were to be contracted to security company G4S?
  • ... that Albanian philosopher and poet Arshi Pipa was imprisoned for ten years because he antagonized the communist regime in Albania with his recitation of a verse by Goethe?

Anniversaries this month

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Selected biography

Mary Anning
Mary Anning (1799–1847) was a British fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis where she lived. Her work contributed to fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the earth. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified, found when she was just twelve years old; the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and important fish fossils. Her observations were critical to the discovery that coprolites were fossilised faeces. Her gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain and she struggled financially for much of her life. As a woman she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London, and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. After her death her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. In 2010 the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.

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The Lost Chord, recorded by George Gouraud. It was played at the August 14, 1888, press conference that introduced the phonograph to London.

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Aristotle
Aristotle, Politics

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