The Society Portal

Social network analysis diagram

Social network


A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial 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 otherwise be difficult 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, and also applied to distinctive subsections of a larger society.

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. (Full article...)

Selected article

Kavadi dancers in Hamm, Germany in 2007
The Tamil people are an ethnic group from South Asia with a recorded history going back almost two millennia. The oldest Tamil communities are those of southern India and north-eastern Sri Lanka. Unlike many ethnic groups, the Tamils have at no time been governed by a single political entity; Tamil̲akam, the traditional name for the Tamil lands, has always been under the rule of more than one kingdom or state. Despite this, the Tamil cultural identity has always been strong. Historically, this identity has been primarily linguistic, with Tamils being those whose first language was Tamil. In recent times, however, the definition has been broadened to also include emigrants of Tamil descent who maintain Tamil traditions, even when they no longer speak the language. Tamils are ethnically, linguistically and culturally related to the other Dravidian peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 74 million Tamils around the world.

Featured picture

Punch (magazine)Credit: Artist: John Tenniel; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

"Our New 'First Lord' at Sea", an 1877 editorial cartoon from Punch mocking the appointment of William Henry Smith (right) as First Lord of the Admiralty, the governor of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Smith had been a household name thanks to the W H Smith chain of booksellers and newsagents, and he had been a Member of Parliament for the previous ten years, but he had no naval or even military experience whatsoever. The following year, Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore would satirise him on similar grounds, and he became known as "Pinafore Smith" throughout the course of his three years in the post.

Did you know...

The city block across the street south of the bazaar halls burned down in 1858. The old firewatch building is seen behind to the left.

Anniversaries this month

Lyndon Johnson

Selected quote

Woody Allen

Selected biography

William D. Boyce
William D. Boyce
William D. Boyce (1858–1929) was an American newspaper man, entrepreneur, magazine publisher, and explorer. He was the founder of the Boy Scouts of America and the short-lived Lone Scouts of America. Born in Plum Township, Pennsylvania and an astute businessman, Boyce successfully established several newspapers. He moved to Chicago to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. There he established the Mutual Newspaper Publishing Company and the weekly Saturday Blade. With his novel employment of newsboys to boost newspaper sales, Boyce's namesake publishing company maintained a circulation of 500,000 copies per week by 1894. By the early years of the 20th century, Boyce had become a multi-millionaire and had taken a step back from his businesses to pursue his interests in civic affairs, devoting more time to traveling and participating in expeditions. In 1909, he embarked on a two-month trip to Europe and a large photographic expedition to Africa with photographer George R. Lawrence and cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. Boyce learned about Scouting while passing through London, England during his first expedition to Africa in 1909. From its start, Boyce focused the Scouting program on teaching self-reliance, citizenship, resourcefulness, patriotism, obedience, cheerfulness, courage, and courtesy in order "to make men". (Full article...)

Featured audio

  • A recording of the Welsh national anthem, "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (composed in January 1856 by James James, with words by his father Evan James), sung by Madge Breese for the Gramophone Company on 11 March 1899.
  • Categories

    Society categories
    Society

    Related portals

    Recognized content

    Featured article star.png

    Featured articles

    Featured lists

    Good articles

    Featured pictures

    Things you can do


    Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

    WikiProjects

    Web resources

    Associated Wikimedia

    Society on Wikibooks  Society on Wikimedia Commons Society on Wikinews  Society on Wikiquote  Society on Wikisource  Society on Wikiversity  Society on Wiktionary 
    Manuals and books Images and media News Quotations Texts Learning resources Definitions

    Portals