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Who We Are & What We Do

Mission and Strategies

Mission Statement: Who We Are

The International Society for Ethnology and Folklore—SIEF—is a pluridisciplinary organization centered in the twin fields of ethnology and folklore (E&F) in their various denominations, within the larger family of anthropological and cultural-historical disciplines. Like the fields it represents, SIEF is eclectic and open-minded, promiscuous in its disciplinary relations while keeping faith with its founding values and vision. Global in its origins, today SIEF operates within an institutional context that is concentrated in but not limited to Europe.

The principal mission is to gather scholars from its fields; to provide platforms for critical debate, networking, and exchange; to build infrastructures for intellectual cooperation; to publish and promote excellent scholarship; and to move forward the fields that it represents. SIEF facilitates scholarly exchange in the community of ethnology, folklore and neighboring disciplines, respecting the richness of diverse academic traditions, promoting dialogue and encouraging development. It also serves as a forum for different professional worlds, bringing together researchers, teachers, students, archivists, as well as museum and heritage professionals. Moreover, SIEF takes an active role in a larger community of scholarly societies.

SIEF provides its members with information on the fields and activities of the society and its working groups. Outside its own ranks, the society helps to raise public awareness of the scholarship they bring together and its societal relevance. It encourages the use of ethnological knowledge, skills, and perspectives in society at large to inform public opinion and inspire innovative solutions. Furthermore, SIEF helps to integrate (post)graduate students and early career scholars into its international fields. It promotes the internationalization of higher education in E&F, facilitating cooperation in higher education with a view to sustaining the strength, diversity, and viability of departments and programs.

SIEF promotes academic freedom and the critical role of scholarship in society. Our fields are nothing if they are not international; the important conversations that take us forward are carried out across national borders. SIEF helps us to have these conversations.

Goals and Strategies: What We Do [and what we would like to do]

Scientific cooperation

§ SIEF organizes biennial international congresses in odd-numbered years in cooperation with local organizers at academic institutions in various parts of Europe, appointing jointly a scientific committee to define the theme, write the call, shape the format, outline the program, invite keynote speakers, and select panels.

§ SIEF maintains and supports active Working Groups organized by SIEF members around scholarly topics and approaches, as well as demographics (e.g. career stage and language). Working Groups organize panels or workshops at the biennial SIEF congress and many organize their own conferences in even-numbered years.

§ SIEF cultivates its sisterhood with the American Folklore Society (AFS) and the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), e.g. through the reciprocal organization of panels/forums at congresses, communication of calls and news, and joint membership options.

§ SIEF participates in the work of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA).

§ [SIEF would like to appoint national liaisons in E&F and maintain communication with them to update national information for SIEF’s maps and to circulate SIEF information to the national mailing lists, national journals, etc.]

§ [SIEF would like to collect and make available information about research institutions, archives, museums, and journals of E&F and visualize this information on interactive maps on the SIEF website, updated regularly.]


§ SIEF supports the editors of SIEF's journals, Ethnologia Europaea and Cultural Analysis, in their work, aids in the journals' distribution, defends their scientific integrity, and strengthens their visibility.

§ SIEF publishes a newsletter twice a year with practical information on the fields and activities of the society and its working groups.

§ SIEF hosts a website with current information on the society, its working groups, conferences, and publications, as well as other information relevant for members.

§ SIEF makes active use of social media to engage members and provide them with the latest international news in E&F and updates on the activities of the society and its working groups. § SIEF produces short films for visual communication in and about E&F to communicate with members and with a broader public.

§ [SIEF would like to appoint a standing committee on journals of E&F, to collect and provide information about E&F journals, foster their cooperation, facilitate a network for journal editors to share experiences and pool resources, and host coordination meetings at SIEF congresses.]

Higher education

§ SIEF organizes a biennial summer school in E&F for doctoral students in cooperation with institutes of higher education in Europe, appoints a scientific committee and cooperates with the local organizer to define the theme, shape the format, outline the program, select the speakers, and admit the students.

§ SIEF appoints a standing committee on higher education in E&F, which collects and provides information about university departments and programs, fosters their cooperation, facilitates a network of departments to share experiences and pool resources, and hosts coordination meetings at SIEF congresses.

§ SIEF collects and makes available information about higher education, [research institutions, archives, museums, and journals of E&F] and visualizes this information on interactive maps on the SIEF website, updated regularly.

§ SIEF awards biennially a Young Scholar Prize in recognition of the important contribution of young scholars to E&F.

§ [SIEF would like to encourage faculty and student mobility, and help to instigate joint courses, modules, programs and/or doctoral schools in E&F.]

[ ] = strategies and activities that have yet to be realized

Adopted by the SIEF Executive Board in February 2017, this is a living document and will be revisited and revised by future boards.

SIEF members are encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions with board members by e-mail to: