Membership in the Society for Applied Anthropology

The Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) was founded in 1941 to promote the investigation of the principles of human behavior and the application of these principles to contemporary issues and problems. Since that time membership has expanded to over 2,500. The Society has become the preeminent international organization in the field concerned with the application of the social sciences to contemporary issues.

The Society is unique among professional organizations. In membership and purpose, it represents the interests of professionals in a wide range of work settings - academia, business, law, health and medicine, public and government. Members come from a variety of disciplines - anthropology, sociology, economics, business, planning, medicine, nursing, law, and other related social/behavioral sciences. The unifying factor is a commitment to the mission of our association - professionals from a variety of backgrounds who are making an impact on the quality of life in the world today.


Why Should I Join SfAA?

Opportunities and Networking

The Society encourages the active participation of all members. The moderate size of membership and the flexibility of the organization permits involvement by all interested members. The activities of the Society, particularly the annual meetings, provide an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences. In addition, the committee activities and special interest groups (both geographically-based as well as issue-oriented), encourage vital contacts with other professionals for the purpose of resolving similar problems.

Annual Meetings

The Society sponsors a large and dynamic annual meeting in the spring (March-April) each year. The meeting provides the setting for the analysis of issues, the exchange among members, and the general networking essential for professionals. The venue for the meeting changes each year; every fourth year, the meeting is convened at an international site. Please contact the SfAA Office for information on future meetings. Members are eligible for discounted registration fees for the annual meeting.


SfAA's mission through publishing articles that advance, synthesize, and interpret the application of anthropological method and theory to the analysis and solution of practical problems in the contemporary world.

Human Organization is the journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Its primary objective is the scientific investigation of “the principles controlling the relations of human beings to one anothe…and the wide application of these principles to practical problems”. The journal regularly includes sections on government and industry, health and medical care, and international affairs. Articles report the application of concepts of social/behavioral science to issues and problems in the contemporary world. 

Practicing Anthropology is a career-oriented publication of the Society. Its overall goals are: to provide a vehicle of communication and a source of career information for anthropologists and other social scientists working outside academia; to encourage a bridge between practice and the university; and to explore the uses of the social sciences in policy research and implementation.

The SfAA News is a quarterly online newsletter geared toward the rapid disribution on news among the memebership. The Newsletter also features occasional exchanges around current or emerging issues or perspecives on understanding contemporary problems.  


The Society sponsors four prestigious awards:

• The Bronislaw Malinowski Award is presented annually in recognition of career achievements in the application of the social sciences to contemporary problems.

• The Margaret Mead Award recognizes a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment such as a book or film which interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful and accessible to a broadly concerned public. The Mead Award is sponsored jointly with the American Anthropological Association.

• The Peter K. New Award is a cash award presented each year to the winner of a student research paper competition.

• The Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member of SfAA, who provided distinguished and innovative service to applied anthropology and of long-term and truly distinguished service to the Society.