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Portal:Society

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The Society Portal

Canis lupus social ethology

Canis lupus social ethology

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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Young Toraja girls at a wedding ceremony
The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja. Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk ("the way"). Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days. Before the twentieth century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity. When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had evolved significantly, from its agricultural beginnings into a largely Christian society.

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Times Square
Credit: Photo: Matt H. Wade

Nighttime photo of the northern section of Times Square in New York City, featuring billboard ads for various Broadway shows. Formerly named Longacre Square, it was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to One Times Square. Times Square is the site of the annual ball drop on New Year's Eve.

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Stanley Green
Stanley Green (1915–1993) was a sandwich man who became a well-known figure in London, England, during the latter half of the 20th century. For 25 years Green patrolled Oxford Street, carrying a placard that advocated "Less Lust, By Less Protein: Meat Fish Bird; Egg Cheese; Peas Beans; Nuts. And Sitting"—the wording, and punctuation, changing somewhat over the years. Arguing that protein made people lustful and aggressive, his solution was "protein wisdom," a low-protein diet for "better, kinder, happier people." For a few pence, passers-by could buy his 14-page pamphlet, Eight Passion Proteins with Care, which reportedly sold 87,000 copies over 20 years. Green became one of London's much-loved eccentrics, though his campaign to suppress desire, as one commentator put it, was not invariably popular, leading to two arrests for obstruction and the need to wear green overalls to protect himself from spit. He nevertheless took great delight in his local fame. The Sunday Times interviewed him in 1985, and his "less passion, less protein" slogan was used by Red or Dead, the London fashion house. When he died in 1993 at the age of 78, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Times published his obituary, and his pamphlets, placards, and letters were passed to the Museum of London.

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Woodrow Wilson's address on the affairs of American Indians, "The great white father now calls you his brothers". The speech recognised the wrongs of the past and the injustices inflicted on the Native Americans and was a formal apology by Wilson to the Native Americans.

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William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth, The Excursion (1814), Book III.

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