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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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Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. Lesbian, as a concept, is used to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, and the concept is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not had the freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships where men have. However, they also have not met the same harsh punishment in some societies as homosexual men. In the past, lesbian relationships were sometimes regarded as harmless unless the participants attempted to pursue privileges traditionally enjoyed by their peers. As a result, little in history has been documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality has been expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about lesbianism or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and designated them mentally ill. Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States. Women exhibit sexual fluidity; some women who engage in homosexual behavior may reject identifying as lesbian or as bisexuall. Greater understanding of women's sexuality has led to three components to identifying lesbians: sexual behavior, sexual desire, or sexual identity.

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Batak warriorsCredit: Kristen Feilberg; Restoration: Peter Weis

Batak warriors in 1870. The term "Batak" is used to collectively identify a number of ethnic groups predominantly found in North Sumatra, Indonesia. It includes the Toba, Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing, each of which are distinct but related groups with distinct, albeit related, languages and customs (adat).

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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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Lyndon Johnson

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Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei was a Tuscan astronomer, philosopher, and physicist who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. He has been referred to as the "father of modern astronomy," as the "father of modern physics," and as "father of science." His experimental work is widely considered complementary to the writings of Bacon in establishing the modern scientific method. Galileo was born in Pisa and his career coincided with that of Kepler. The work of Galileo is considered to be a significant break from that of Aristotle; in particular, Galileo placed emphasis on quantity, rather than quality.

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The full audio recording of the inaugural address made by Barack Obama after being sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States on January 20, 2009. (Duration: 18 minutes, 57 seconds)

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Marcus Garvey

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