The Society Portal

Cleric, knight and Peasant; example of feudal societies

Cleric, knight and Peasant; an example of feudal societies


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 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 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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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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An Ideal HusbandCredit: 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.

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Eccentric flint on display in Brussels

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The Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, the symbols from which the movement derives its name.

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Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams was an American statesman, politician, writer, and political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies in rebellion against Great Britain, ultimately resulting in the American Revolution. He was also one of the key architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped American political culture. Adams organized protests against the British, including the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and participated in the Continental Congress. He also advocated for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress. Following the American Revolution, Adams helped draft the Articles of Confederation. After the war ended, he ran for the House of Representatives in the 1st United States Congressional election, but was unsuccessful in his bid. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1789 and after John Hancock's death in 1793, Adams served as the acting governor, until he was elected governor in January of the following year. He served in that position until June 1797 when he decided to retire from politics.

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An 1890 recording of Walt Whitman reading the opening four lines of his poem "America", from his collection Leaves of Grass.

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Federico Fellini

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