The Society Portal
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.
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.
is the study of society
. It is a social science
which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity. For many sociologists the goal is to conduct research which may be applied directly to social policy
and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro
level of individual agency
and interaction to the macro
level of systems and the social structure
. The traditional focuses of sociology have included social stratification
, social class
, social mobility
, and deviance
. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency
, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health
and penal institutions
, the Internet
, and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge
. The range of social scientific methods has also expanded. Social researchers
draw upon a variety of qualitative
techniques. The linguistic
and cultural turns
of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative
, and philosophic
approaches to the analysis of society. Conversely, recent decades have seen the rise of new analytically
rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling
and social network analysis
. Sociology should not be confused with various general social studies
courses which bear little relation to sociological theory or social science research methodology.
Did you know...
Anniversaries this month
was a lieutenant-general
in the British Army
, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement
. After having been educated at Charterhouse School
, Baden-Powell served in the British Army
from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War
in South Africa
, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking
. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance
and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys
, published in 1908 by Pearson
, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island
that began on August 1
, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames
, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell
and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement
. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri
, where he died in 1941.
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