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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A 2007 concert in Minsk hosted by the BRSM
The Belarusian Republican Youth Union is an organized youth group in the Eastern European country of Belarus. The goals of the BRSM are to promote patriotism and to instill individual moral values into the youth of Belarus, using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization, which was created by a merger of other youth groups in 2002, is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Belorussian SSR. While it is only one of a few youth groups inside Belarus, it is the largest and receives much backing from the Belarusian government. The BRSM has been accused of using methods of coercion and empty promises to recruit members and of being used as a propaganda tool by the Lukashenko Government.

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Battle of the Little BighornCredit: C. M. Russell; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

The Battle of the Little Bighorn occurred on June 25–26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, and was the most famous action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It was an overwhelming victory for the Native American coalition over the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry.

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Tuareg people

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

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Terry Fox
Terry Fox (1958–1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete and cancer research activist. He was a distance runner and basketball player, and continued both pursuits after his right leg was amputated upon being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 1977. His experiences in chemotherapy inspired Fox to attempt the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run, in the hopes of raising C$1 for every person in the country for cancer research. He began on April 12, 1980, at St. John's, Newfoundland, and ran west for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres — the equivalent of a marathon a day — until forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario, after cancer returned in his lungs. Fox captivated the country; he was named Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981, and was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. His run and subsequent battle with the disease united the nation and led to millions of dollars in donations. He inspired the Terry Fox Run, held in over 60 countries and the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over $500 million have been raised in his name. Considered a national hero, many buildings, roads and parks have been named in his honour across Canada.

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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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Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig, 2001

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