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Portal:Society

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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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Birth control
Birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, refers to methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. Planning and provision of birth control is called family planning. Safe sex, such as the use of male or female condoms, can also help prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptive use in developing countries has cut the number of maternal deaths by 44% (about 270,000 deaths averted in 2008) but could prevent 73% if the full demand for birth control were met. Because teenage pregnancies are at greater risk of adverse outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight and infant mortality, adolescents need comprehensive sex education and access to reproductive health services, including contraception. By lengthening the time between pregnancies, birth control can also improve adult women's delivery outcomes and the survival of their children. Effective birth control methods include barriers such as condoms, diaphragms, and the contraceptive sponge; hormonal contraception including oral pills, patches, vaginal rings, and injectable contraceptives; and intrauterine devices (IUDs). Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Long-acting reversible contraception such as implants, IUDs, or vaginal rings are recommended to reduce teenage pregnancy. Sterilization by means such as vasectomy and tubal ligation is permanent contraception. Some people regard sexual abstinence as birth control, but abstinence-only sex education often increases teen pregnancies when offered without contraceptive education. Birth control methods have been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods only became available in the 20th century. For some people, contraception involves moral issues, and many cultures limit access to birth control due to the moral and political issues involved. About 222 million women who want to avoid pregnancy in developing countries are not using a modern contraception method. Birth control increases economic growth because of fewer dependent children, more women participating in the workforce, and less consumption of scarce resources. Women's earnings, assets, body mass index, and their children's schooling and body mass index all substantially improve with greater access to contraception.

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Australian Light HorseCredit: Photo: American Colony; Restoration: Lise Broer

An Australian Light Horse encampment on Mount Olivet and Mount Scopus near Jerusalem, 1918. Australian Light Horse were mounted troops with characteristics of both cavalry and mounted infantry who served during the Second Boer War and World War I. A number of Australian light horse units are still in existence today, most notably of the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry), now a light armoured unit.

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Eccentric flint on display in Brussels

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Ursula Franklin in 2006
Ursula Franklin (born 1921) is a Canadian metallurgist, research physicist, author and educator who has taught at the University of Toronto for more than 40 years. She is the author of The Real World of Technology, which is based on her 1989 Massey Lectures, and The Ursula Franklin Reader: Pacifism as a Map, a collection of her papers, interviews, and talks. Franklin is a practising Quaker and has been active in working on behalf of pacifist and feminist causes. Franklin has received numerous honours and awards, including the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for promoting the equality of girls and women in Canada and the Pearson Medal of Peace for her work in advancing human rights. Franklin is best known for her writings on the political and social effects of technology. For her, technology is a comprehensive system that includes methods, procedures, organization, "and most of all, a mindset". She distinguishes between holistic technologies used by craft workers or artisans and prescriptive ones associated with a division of labour in large-scale production. Franklin argues that the dominance of prescriptive technologies in modern society discourages critical thinking and promotes "a culture of compliance".

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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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Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Policy.
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