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Portal:Society

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The Society Portal

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

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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An illustration of the beginning of Daylight Saving Time
Daylight saving time is the convention of advancing clocks so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn; the ancients lengthened summer hours instead. Presaged by a 1784 satire, modern DST was first proposed in 1907 by William Willett, and 1916 saw its first widespread use as a wartime measure aimed at conserving coal. Despite controversy, many countries have used it since then; details vary by location and change occasionally. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but causes problems for farmers and other workers whose hours depend on the sun. Extra afternoon daylight cuts traffic fatalities; its effect on health and crime is less clear. DST is said to save electricity by reducing the need for artificial evening lighting, but the evidence for this is weak and DST can boomerang by boosting peak demand, increasing overall electricity costs. DST's clock shifts complicate timekeeping and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, medical devices, and heavy equipment.

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Vanity FairCredit: Artist: Ethel McClellan Plummer; Restoration: Lise Broer

The cover to the June 1914 issue of Vanity Fair, an American magazine published from 1913 to 1936 by Condé Montrose Nast, the first of many published by his company Condé Nast Publications. Nast purchased a men's fashion magazine titled Dress in 1913 and renamed it Dress, and Vanity Fair. In 1914, the title was shortened to Vanity Fair. During its run, it competed with The New Yorker as the American establishment's top culture chronicle and featured writing by Thomas Wolfe, T. S. Eliot, P. G. Wodehouse, and Dorothy Parker. However, it became a casualty of the Great Depression and declining advertising revenues, and it was folded into Vogue in 1936. In 1983, Condé Nast revived the title as a new publication.

Did you know...

McLeave's Lock on the Lagan Canal

  • ... that the Lagan Canal (pictured) was once one of the most successful canals in Ireland but closed in the 1950s after succumbing to competition from road and rail transport?
  • ... that in response to the Norwegian butter crisis, Danish people have donated thousands of packs to butter-starved Norwegians?
  • ... that Natchez Indians attacked French colonists in Louisiana in 1729, killing over 240 people?

Anniversaries this month

Day of the Dead

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A 1972 FBI composite drawing of D. B. Cooper
D. B. Cooper is the name commonly used to refer to a hijacker who, on November 24 1971, after receiving a ransom payout of US$200,000, jumped from the back of a Boeing 727 as it was flying over the Pacific Northwest of the United States possibly over Woodland, Washington. Despite hundreds of suspects through the years, no conclusive evidence has surfaced regarding Cooper's identity or whereabouts. The FBI believes he did not survive the jump. Several theories offer competing explanations of what happened after his famed jump. The nature of Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue people. The Cooper case remains an unsolved mystery. It has baffled both government and private investigators for decades, with countless leads turning into dead ends. In March 2008, the FBI thought it might have had one of the biggest breakthroughs in the case when children unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site near the town of Amboy, Washington. Experts later determined that it did not belong to the hijacker. Still, despite the case's infamy for its enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen.

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The Lost Chord, recorded by George Gouraud. It was played at the August 14, 1888, press conference that introduced the phonograph to London.

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Federico Fellini

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