Portal:Society

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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 concepts 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.

So far 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...)

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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.
Credit: Photo: Alexander Gardner; Restoration: Lise Broer

On July 7, 1865, at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt (shown left-to-right) were hanged for their roles in the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Eight people were convicted for the crime; three others were sentenced to life imprisonment, with the last receiving a six-year sentence. Mary Surratt's son John was able to escape and was never convicted for his role. His mother was the first woman to be executed by the United States federal government.

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Émile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim (French: [emil dyʁkɛm] or [dyʁkajm]; April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science and father of sociology. Much of Durkheim's work was concerned with how societies could maintain their integrity and coherence in modernity; an era in which traditional social and religious ties are no longer assumed, and in which new social institutions have come into being. His first major sociological work was The Division of Labor in Society (1893). In 1895, he published his Rules of the Sociological Method and set up the first European department of sociology, becoming France's first professor of sociology. In 1898, he established the journal L'Année Sociologique. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, pioneered modern social research and served to distinguish social science from psychology and political philosophy. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), presented a theory of religion, comparing the social and cultural lives of aboriginal and modern societies. Durkheim was also deeply preoccupied with the acceptance of sociology as a legitimate science. He refined the positivism originally set forth by Auguste Comte, promoting what could be considered as a form of epistemological realism, as well as the use of the hypothetico-deductive model in social science. He remained a dominant force in French intellectual life until his death in 1917, presenting numerous lectures and published works on a variety of topics, including the sociology of knowledge, morality, social stratification, religion, law, education, and deviance. Durkheimian terms such as "collective consciousness" have since entered the popular lexicon. (Full article...)
  • Frank C. Stanley's 1910 performance of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Contains the first and last verse.
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