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Portal:Society

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The Society Portal

Ant (formicidae) social ethology

Ant (formicidae) social ethology


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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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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Punch (magazine)Credit: Artist: John Tenniel; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

"Our New 'First Lord' at Sea", an 1877 editorial cartoon from Punch mocking the appointment of William Henry Smith (right) as First Lord of the Admiralty, the governor of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Smith had been a household name thanks to the W H Smith chain of booksellers and newsagents, and he had been a Member of Parliament for the previous ten years, but he had no naval or even military experience whatsoever. The following year, Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore would satirise him on similar grounds, and he became known as "Pinafore Smith" throughout the course of his three years in the post.

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The city block across the street south of the bazaar halls burned down in 1858. The old firewatch building is seen behind to the left.

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Day of the Dead

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Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx (Berlin German pronunciation: [kaːɐ̯l ˈhaɪnʀɪç ˈmaːɐ̯ks], 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the establishment of the social sciences and the development of the socialist movement. He is also considered one of the greatest economists in history. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894). He often worked closely with his friend and fellow revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels. Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labour for goods. Heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, he called it the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", believing it to be run by the wealthy classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the "workers state" or "workers' democracy".He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former's implementation, arguing that both social theorists and underprivileged people should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.

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Frank C. Stanley's 1910 performance of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Contains the first and last verse.

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James A. Garfield

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