Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography

The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG; Swedish: Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi) is a scientific learned society founded in December 1877. It was established after a rearrangement of various sections of the Anthropological Society, which was formed in 1873 by Hjalmar Stolpe, Hans Hildebrand, Oscar Montelius, and Gustaf Retzius.[1]

The society functions as a link between science and the public, especially in the subjects of anthropology and geography. It awards research fellowships, organizes excursions and lectures, and hands out awards including the Vega Medal and Retzius Medal. In 1880, the society published the first edition of the Swedish yearbook Ymer, and it has published the international journal Geografiska Annaler since 1919, a publication that is divided between physical geography and human geography.

In 2018, it established Kritisk Etnografi, an academic journal of ethnography.

Society awards

The society created the Vega Medal in 1881, on the occasion of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm after the Vega expedition – his discovery of the Northeast Passage. Since then, the Vega Medal has been awarded to an outstanding physical geographer roughly every three years. In the intervening years, the society has awarded the Anders Retzius Medal to a geographer or anthropologist.[2]

In 2015, the Society decided that awarding a medal named after Retzius was inappropriate; his racial studies—including a collection of skulls of indigenous peoples—are viewed with disapproval by modern anthropologists.[3] Thereafter, the Retzius Medal was renamed the SSAG medal, and it was given to Didier Fassin in 2016. The society's awards are handed out by the King of Sweden on 24 April, the anniversary of Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm.


The following people are among the recipients of the society's awards:[4]

Vega Medal

Retzius Medal

Gold Medal

Kritisk Etnografi

Kritisk Etnografi
DisciplineSocial anthropology, ethnography
Edited bySten Hagberg, Jörgen Hellman
Publication details
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Krit. Etnogr.
OCLC no.1048148325

Kritisk Etnografi (Swedish for "critical ethnography"), subtitled Swedish Journal of Anthropology, is a bi-annual peer-reviewed, open-access, online-only, academic journal on the subjects of anthropology and ethnography, owned and published by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography in collaboration with DiVA, an online archive maintained by Uppsala University. Its first issue was launched on 15 August 2018.

See also



  1. Culin 1906, p. 151.
  2. Helmfrid 2004, p. 172.
  3. Kleen 2015.
  4. SSAG 2018, pp. 1–3.


  • Culin, S. (Jan–Mar 1906). "Hjalmar Stolpe". Am. Anthropol. 8 (1): 150–156. doi:10.1525/aa.1906.8.1.02a00160. JSTOR 659172.
  • Helmfrid, S. (2004). "Geography in Sweden". Belg. J. Geogr. 5 (1): 163–174. doi:10.4000/belgeo.10085. ISSN 2294-9135.
  • Kleen, B. (7 March 2015). "Stopp för medalj till rasforskarens minne". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  • "Tidigare medaljörer" (PDF) (in Swedish). Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. August 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
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