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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.

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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Young residents in the Bunun village of Lona, Taiwan
Taiwanese aborigines are the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Although each group holds a variety of creation stories, contemporary research suggests their ancestors may have been living on the islands for approximately 8,000 years before major Han Chinese immigration began in the 1600s. The Taiwanese Aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Oceania. For centuries Taiwan's Aboriginal peoples experienced economic competition and military conflict with a series of conquering peoples. Centralized government policies designed to foster language shift and cultural assimilation, as well as continued contact with the colonizers through trade, intermarriage and other dispassionate intercultural processes, have resulted in varying degrees of language death and loss of original cultural identity. The bulk of contemporary Taiwanese Aborigines reside in the mountains and the cities. Many Aboriginal groups are actively seeking a higher degree of political self-determination and economic development since the early 1980s.

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Pied Piper of HamelinCredit: Restoration: Lise Broer

An illustration by Kate Greenaway that accompanied Robert Browning's version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a legend wherein a piper is hired by the town of Hamelin, Germany, to lead rats away with his magic pipe. The town refuses to pay his wages and he retaliates by leading the children of the town away as well.

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The former Royal Assurance Society office at 163 North Street, Brighton

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A 1972 FBI composite drawing of D. B. Cooper
D. B. Cooper is the name commonly used to refer to a hijacker who, on November 24 1971, after receiving a ransom payout of US$200,000, jumped from the back of a Boeing 727 as it was flying over the Pacific Northwest of the United States possibly over Woodland, Washington. Despite hundreds of suspects through the years, no conclusive evidence has surfaced regarding Cooper's identity or whereabouts. The FBI believes he did not survive the jump. Several theories offer competing explanations of what happened after his famed jump. The nature of Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue people. The Cooper case remains an unsolved mystery. It has baffled both government and private investigators for decades, with countless leads turning into dead ends. In March 2008, the FBI thought it might have had one of the biggest breakthroughs in the case when children unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site near the town of Amboy, Washington. Experts later determined that it did not belong to the hijacker. Still, despite the case's infamy for its enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen.

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An 1890 recording of Walt Whitman reading the opening four lines of his poem "America", from his collection Leaves of Grass.

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Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig, 2001

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