The Society Portal

Ant (formicidae) social ethology

Ant (formicidae) social ethology


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 evinces stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

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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A Nigerian Dwarf goat, one of the animals kept by the Oklahoma City Zoo and considered at recovering status by the ALBC
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and promoting rare breeds of livestock. Founded in 1977 through the efforts of livestock breed enthusiasts concerned about the disappearance of many of the US's heritage livestock breeds, the ALBC was the pioneer livestock preservation organization in the United States, and remains a leading organization in that field. It has initiated programs that have saved multiple breeds from extinction, and works closely with similar organizations in other countries, including Rare Breeds Canada. The ALBC maintains a conservation priority list that divides endangered breeds of horses, asses, sheep, goats, cattle, rabbits, pigs and poultry into five categories based on population numbers and historical interest. The organization has published several books, and works with breed registries and other groups on several aspects of breed preservation, including genetic testing, historical documentation, animal rescue and marketing. Preservation of genetic material is of special interest to the ALBC, and for a period of time it maintained a gene bank that was later transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture. It has also developed and published several heritage definitions, including parameters for heritage breeds of cattle and poultry.

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Batak warriorsCredit: Kristen Feilberg; Restoration: Peter Weis

Batak warriors in 1870. The term "Batak" is used to collectively identify a number of ethnic groups predominantly found in North Sumatra, Indonesia. It includes the Toba, Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing, each of which are distinct but related groups with distinct, albeit related, languages and customs (adat).

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Eccentric flint on display in Brussels

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Guy Bradley in 1905
Guy Bradley (1870–1905) was an American game warden and deputy sheriff for Monroe County, Florida. Born in Chicago, his family relocated to Florida when he was young. As a boy, he often served as guide to visiting fishermen and plume hunters, although he later denounced poaching after legislation was passed to protect the dwindling number of birds. In 1902, Bradley was hired by the American Ornithologists' Union, at the request of the Florida Audubon Society, to become one of the country's first game wardens. Tasked with protecting the area's wading birds from hunters, he patrolled the area stretching from Florida's west coast, through the Everglades, to Key West, single-handedly enforcing the ban on bird hunting. Bradley was shot and killed in the line of duty, after confronting a man and his two sons who were hunting egrets in the Everglades. His much-publicized death at the age of 35 galvanized conservationists, and served as inspiration for future legislation to protect Florida's bird populations. Several national awards and places have been named in his honor.

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George Clooney
George Clooney, 2006

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