About us

The Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS is a prominent institution of ethnological, socio-anthropological, and religious research in Slovakia and Central Europe. It is formed by a balanced team of experts from various thematic areas.

Story and concept

The institution was established in 1946 as the Ethnographic Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Arts, which was affiliate to the Historical Institute in 1951. After the establishment of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in 1953, the Ethnographic Cabinet was established and was renamed to the Institute of Ethnography SAS in 1955. Since 1993, it was called the Institute of Ethnology SAS, and on the basis of the recommendation of the international accreditation commission was renamed to the Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS in 2018. In 2022, it was transformed into a public research institution.

From the expert point of view, the Institute concentrates on the analysis of social relationships from the local and global perspective with a focus on the Slovak and Central European context. The fields of scientific interest include research on cultural traditions and ways of life, as well as social, cultural and material aspects of the economic and political transition after 1989 in rural and urban environments. Special emphasis is placed on phenomena of collective identities, memory, ethnicity, religion, minorities and migration, and cultural heritage. Our research projects apply current global theoretical and methodological trends and approaches.

The institute has long focused on problem-oriented research responding to current regional and global social topics and issues. International co-operation involves projects on socio-economic transition and structural social changes: current challenges and problems of families at the different stages of the life-cycle of their members, population ageing, poverty, inclusion of minorities, conspiracy theories, the Holocaust, religions in Slovakia in the late modern period, etc.

The Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS is an external educational institution that conducts doctoral study programmes in the field of “World cultures and religions” and “Social anthropology”. The Institute of Ethnology SAS develops active co-operation with various external public administration and third-sector institutions and organisations. It is involved in applied projects focusing on the evaluation of local and state policies and the seeking of new creative solutions, civil society development and the integration of excluded social groups.

Organizational structure

According to the organisational rules of the IESA SAS, the workplace is headed by a director who, in order to ensure the scientific and research activity and management of the institute, establishes the position of deputy director and scientific secretary. The main bodies of IESA SAS as a public research institution, in addition to the management of the institute, there is also an boards of directors, an academic board and a supervisory board. The Director’s Council is an advisory body for solving issues related to the management of scientific projects that require collective assessment. The director establishes special work committees to perform specialized tasks (e.g. Ethics Committee, Inventory Committee).

The Institute comprises a Scientific library and an Information and documentation section with an extensive Scientific collections containing text, picture and multi-media documents. The Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS houses the editorial office of the scientific journal Slovenský národopis/ Slovak Ethnology, and collaborates with the Ethnographic Society of Slovakia and the Slovak Society for the Study of Religions.

The Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology SAS consists of a disciplinary, gender and age-balanced team of ambitious professionals. The SAV Gender Equality Plan and the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) are implemented at the workplace.