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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 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.

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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Kavadi dancers in Hamm, Germany in 2007
The Tamil people are an ethnic group from South Asia with a recorded history going back almost two millennia. The oldest Tamil communities are those of southern India and north-eastern Sri Lanka. Unlike many ethnic groups, the Tamils have at no time been governed by a single political entity; Tamil̲akam, the traditional name for the Tamil lands, has always been under the rule of more than one kingdom or state. Despite this, the Tamil cultural identity has always been strong. Historically, this identity has been primarily linguistic, with Tamils being those whose first language was Tamil. In recent times, however, the definition has been broadened to also include emigrants of Tamil descent who maintain Tamil traditions, even when they no longer speak the language. Tamils are ethnically, linguistically and culturally related to the other Dravidian peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 74 million Tamils around the world.

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Boxer RebellionCredit: Artist: Kasai Torajirō; Restoration: Staxringold

Japanese and British troops attack members of the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists ("Boxers") at Beijing Castle during the Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901. The Boxers, angered by foreign imperialist expansion into Qing Dynasty China, had engaged in looting, arson, and killings of foreigners. In 1900, the Empress Dowager Cixi employed the Boxers to attack foreign settlements in Beijing. The uprising was eventually put down by 20,000 troops from the Eight-Nation Alliance.

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James E. Boyd
James Boyd (1906–1998) was an American physicist, mathematician, and academic administrator. He was director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) from 1957 to 1961, president of West Georgia College from 1961 to 1971, and acting president of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1971 to 1972. Along with two fellow Georgia Tech researchers, Boyd co-founded Scientific Atlanta, where he was a board member for 25 years. As director of the Engineering Experiment Station (now GTRI), Boyd was involved with the establishment of nuclear research at Georgia Tech and the construction of the Neely Nuclear Research Center. As president of West Georgia College, Boyd oversaw the racial integration of the campus in 1963, unprompted by a court order. In 1971, Boyd was assigned as interim president of Georgia Tech following a brief tenure as a vice chancellor for the University System of Georgia. At Georgia Tech, Boyd resolved issues involving the attempted takeover of the Engineering Experiment Station by former president Arthur G. Hansen and alumni calls to fire head football coach Bud Carson.

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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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R. H. Tawney
R. H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (1921)

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