Society


Latest Popular


Animals and humans Anthropology Archaeology Automation and robotics Cities Demography and migration Economic history Economics Education Environmental history Fairness and equality Future of technology Gender Global history History History of technology Human rights and justice Information and communication Making Nations and empires Politics and government Poverty and development Progress and modernity Public health Race and ethnicity Religion The ancient world The environment The future War and peace Work

Emerging towards 241 18th Street (centre), home to Amazon’s new HQ2 in Crystal City, Virginia. Photo by Dermot Tatlow/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Technology and the self
The problem with prediction

Cognitive scientists and corporations alike see human minds as predictive machines. Right or wrong, they will change how we think

Joseph Fridman

Migrant construction workers sleep on the floor in Dubai in 2012. Photo by Jonas Bendickson/Magnum

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Gulf slave society

The glittering city-states of the Persian Gulf fit the classicist Moses Finley’s criteria of genuine slave societies

Bernard Freamon

Districts like the largely Latino Mission District in San Francisco have experienced the effects of gentrification with fast-rising housing costs and the eviction of longtime tenants. 9 May 2015. Photo by Preston Gannaway/New York Times

Essay/
Cities
The harms of gentrification

The exclusion of poorer people from their own neighbourhoods is not just a social problem but a philosophical one

Daniel Putnam

Illustration by Tom Björklund

Essay/
Human evolution
Sheanderthal

Not all Neanderthals were ‘cavemen’: half were women. What can archaeologists tell us about how they lived?

Rebecca Wragg Sykes

A demonstrator uses a shield for protection against water cannons during an anti-government protest taking place outside the parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, on 17 November 2020. Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Essay/
War and peace
Unrest in your backyard

Rich nations with strong governments can no longer assume that political violence is a problem for other, poorer countries

Mark Kukis

Photo by Alex Webb/Magnum

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The necessity of Kripke

No one with an interest in philosophy or debates about identity can afford to be ignorant of the work of Saul Kripke

Stephen Law

Hedonism at the court of kings. The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. From the Perez-Simon Collection/Wikipedia

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Plato in Sicily

Plato travelled to the decadent strife-torn court of Syracuse three times, risking his life to create a philosopher-king

Nick Romeo & Ian Tewksbury

Mahatma Gandhi visits the Greenfield Mill at Darwen during his tour of the cotton areas of Lancashire, England, in 1931. Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

Essay/
History
History from below

What shaped the thought of E P Thompson, the great historian of ordinary working people and champion of their significance?

Priya Satia

To marry under the broomstick: detail from Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (full painting below). Courtesy the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin/Wikipedia

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Broomstick weddings

From Kentucky to Wales and all across the Atlantic, the enslaved and downtrodden got married – by leaping over a broom. Why?

Tyler D Parry

The main room at the Cave of El Castillo in Cantabria, Spain, showing hand prints and depictions of animals. Photo courtesy Gabinete de Prensa del Gobierno de Cantabria

Essay/
Art
Cave art

For Palaeolithic societies, art-making was both a tool for survival and a tactile, joyous exploration of the world

Izzy Wisher

Photo by Jerome Sessini/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Neurodiversity
Am I disabled?

With my pen hovering over a form, there is no easy answer: better to provoke stigma with support, or resist classification?

Joanne Limburg

A deadly coral snake moves across fallen pine needles in a woodland in central Florida. Photo by Kristian Bell/Getty

Essay/
Evolution
Eyes in the dark

From cobra to caterpillar, warning signals are a rich natural vocabulary shaped by the communicative dance of predator and prey

David Kikuchi

Santiago ‘Jimmy’ McKinn (then 11 or 12 years old) pictured with Apache children at their camp at Cañon de los Embudos in 1886. McKinn had been been captured months earlier by Geronimo’s group near Silver City, New Mexico Territory. Photo by C S Fly/Library of Congress

Essay/
Anthropology
Captive culture

Even when enslaved or despised, captives brought novel ideas and technologies to the societies of their captors

Catherine M Cameron

French chefs take part in a videoconference with President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris, 24 April 2020. Photo by Ludovic Marin/Reuters

Essay/
Technology and the self
Zoom and gloom

Sitting in a videoconference is a uniformly crap experience. Instead of corroding our humanity, let’s design tools to enhance it

Robert O’Toole

Detail of a miniature of Arthur slaying the Spanish giant on the island of Mont-Saint-Michel (1471-1483), by Jean de Wavrin. Royal 15 E IV f. 156. Courtesy the Trustees of the British Library

Essay/
Stories and literature
Empire of fantasy

By conquering young minds, the writing of J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis worked to recapture a world that was swiftly ebbing away

Maria Sachiko Cecire

Community block party in the rain. Baltimore, 2018. Photo by Peter van Agtmael/Magnum

Essay/
Race and ethnicity
Sociology’s race problem

Urban ethnographers do more harm than good in speaking for Black communities. They see only suffering, not diversity or joy

Robyn Autry

Władysławowo beach, Poland, August 2020. Photo by Kacper Kowalski/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Neuroscience
How close is too close?

The neuroscience of peripersonal space explores how you create, defend or relax the buffer zone between you and the world

Frédérique de Vignemont & Colin Klein

A drunkard is challenged to walk in a straight line. Detail from Walking the Chalk (1838) by Charles Deas. Courtesy the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Essay/
Food and drink
Drunks and democrats

Violent, lively and brash, taverns were everywhere in early colonial America, embodying both its tumult and its promise

Vaughn Scribner

Leonard Bernstein (far right) with members of the Ex-Concentration Camp Orchestra on 10 May 1948 in Munich, Germany. Bernstein was on a working tour of Europe when he conducted this small orchestra comprised of Holocaust survivors at a displaced persons camp. Photo courtesy of Sonia Beker, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Humanity at night

A violinist plays in a concentration camp. A refugee carries a book of poetry. Art sustains us when survival is uncertain

Sarah Fine