Portal:Society

The Society Portal

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial 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 otherwise be difficult 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, and also applied to distinctive subsections of a larger society.

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. (Full article...)

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Birth control
Birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, refers to methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. Planning and provision of birth control is called family planning. Safe sex, such as the use of male or female condoms, can also help prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptive use in developing countries has cut the number of maternal deaths by 44% (about 270,000 deaths averted in 2008) but could prevent 73% if the full demand for birth control were met. Because teenage pregnancies are at greater risk of adverse outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight and infant mortality, adolescents need comprehensive sex education and access to reproductive health services, including contraception. By lengthening the time between pregnancies, birth control can also improve adult women's delivery outcomes and the survival of their children. Effective birth control methods include barriers such as condoms, diaphragms, and the contraceptive sponge; hormonal contraception including oral pills, patches, vaginal rings, and injectable contraceptives; and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Long-acting reversible contraception such as implants, IUDs, or vaginal rings are recommended to reduce teenage pregnancy. Sterilization by means such as vasectomy and tubal ligation is permanent contraception. Some people regard sexual abstinence as birth control, but abstinence-only sex education often increases teen pregnancies when offered without contraceptive education. Birth control methods have been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods only became available in the 20th century. For some people, contraception involves moral issues, and many cultures limit access to birth control due to the moral and political issues involved. About 222 million women who want to avoid pregnancy in developing countries are not using a modern contraception method. Birth control increases economic growth because of fewer dependent children, more women participating in the workforce, and less consumption of scarce resources. Women's earnings, assets, body mass index, and their children's schooling and body mass index all substantially improve with greater access to contraception.

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AidaCredit: Poster: Otis Lithograph Co; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

A poster for a 1908 American production of Aida, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi that premiered on December 24, 1871, to great acclaim at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, Egypt. However, Verdi was most dissatisfied that the audience consisted of invited dignitaries and critics, but no members of the general public. He therefore considered the European premiere, held at La Scala, Milan, to be its real premiere.

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The Great Match by J F Herring: "Volti" is beaten by "The Flyer"

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Ernest Jones (back middle)

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Gustave Flaubert

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An 1888 Punch cartoon depicting Jack the Ripper as a phantom stalking Whitechapel
An 1888 Punch cartoon depicting Jack the Ripper as a phantom stalking Whitechapel
"Jack the Ripper" is the best known pseudonym given to an unidentified serial killer active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter by someone claiming to be the murderer that was disseminated in the media. Attacks ascribed to the Ripper typically involved women prostitutes from the slums whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. Rumours that the murders were connected intensified in September and October 1888, and extremely disturbing letters from a writer or writers purporting to be the murderer were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard. Mainly because of the extraordinarily brutal character of the murders, and because of media treatment of the events, the public came increasingly to believe in a single serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper. An investigation into a series of brutal killings in Whitechapel up to 1891 was unable to connect all the killings conclusively to the murders of 1888, but the legend of Jack the Ripper solidified. As the murders were never solved, the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term "ripperology" was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are over one hundred theories about the Ripper's identity, and the murders have inspired multiple works of fiction. (Full article...)

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  • The 11th-century "Victimae Paschali Laudes", traditionally attributed to Wipo of Burgundy, is one of the few traditional Latin "sequences" still used by the Roman Catholic Church today.
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