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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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Young Toraja girls at a wedding ceremony
The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja. Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk ("the way"). Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days. Before the twentieth century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity. When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had evolved significantly, from its agricultural beginnings into a largely Christian society.

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This 1873 painting, Les dernières cartouches ("The last bullets") depicts a small detachment from the "Blue Division" of the French Army's Troupes de marine in the Battle of Bazeilles on 1 September 1870. As the French Army retreated from its loss at the Battle of Sedan, this group remained in the last house on the road to Sedan, fighting to the last bullet to cover the retreat.

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William D. Boyce
William D. Boyce (1858–1929) was an American newspaper man, entrepreneur, magazine publisher, and explorer. He was the founder of the Boy Scouts of America and the short-lived Lone Scouts of America. Born in Plum Township, Pennsylvania and an astute businessman, Boyce successfully established several newspapers. He moved to Chicago to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. There he established the Mutual Newspaper Publishing Company and the weekly Saturday Blade. With his novel employment of newsboys to boost newspaper sales, Boyce's namesake publishing company maintained a circulation of 500,000 copies per week by 1894. By the early years of the 20th century, Boyce had become a multi-millionaire and had taken a step back from his businesses to pursue his interests in civic affairs, devoting more time to traveling and participating in expeditions. In 1909, he embarked on a two-month trip to Europe and a large photographic expedition to Africa with photographer George R. Lawrence and cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. Boyce learned about Scouting while passing through London, England during his first expedition to Africa in 1909. From its start, Boyce focused the Scouting program on teaching self-reliance, citizenship, resourcefulness, patriotism, obedience, cheerfulness, courage, and courtesy in order "to make men".

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Henry George
Henry George, Social Problems, Chapter IX.

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