The Society Portal
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 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.
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.
The Stonewall riots
were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn
, in the Greenwich Village
neighborhood of New York City
. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when gays
fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement
in the United States and around the world. The Stonewall Inn, at the time, was owned by the Mafia
. It catered to an assortment of patrons, but it was known to be popular with the most marginalized people in the gay community: transvestites
, effeminate young men, hustlers
, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn, and attracted a crowd that was incited to riot
. Tensions between New York City police
and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. Today Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.
The Battle of Malakoff, during the Crimean War, was fought between the Russian and the allied French-British armies on 7 September 1855. In one of the war's defining moments, a French zouave installed the French flag on the top of the Russian redoubt, as depicted here. The battle brought about the capture of Sevastopol after an 11-month siege.
Did you know...
- ... 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
was a prominent Athenian
statesman, orator, and general. The last famous member of an aristocratic family that fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War
, he played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several occasions. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated for an aggressive foreign policy, and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition
, but fled to Sparta
after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In the years that he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a crucial role in Athens' undoing; the capture of Decelea
and the revolts of several critical Athenian subjects occurred either at his suggestion or under his supervision. Once restored to his native city, however, he played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories that eventually brought Sparta to seek a peace with Athens. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. Alcibiades' military and political talents frequently proved valuable to whichever state currently held his allegiance, but his capacity for making powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in one place for long, and, by the end of the war that he had helped rekindle in the early 410s, his days of political relevance were a bygone memory.
A very early wax cylinder recording (October 5
, 1888) of composer Arthur Sullivan
. It was created in London by George Gouraud
as an audio letter to be sent back to Edison.
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