The Société d’ethnologie française (SEF) is a scientific organization that was created by Georges-Henri Rivière in 1946 as a continuation of the Société du folklore français et du folklore colonial. The constitution of the Société d’ethnologie française commits the organization to the study of contemporary societies.

Beginning in the 1970s, in collaboration with the Musée national des arts et traditions populaires (MNATP), the Centre d’ethnologie française (UMR DMF-CNRS), and the journal Ethnologie française (which is owned by the SEF), the Société d’ethnologie française has greatly contributed to the development of an ethnology of proximity in France and throughout Europe.

The SEF was headquartered at the MNATP in Paris until 2009, when it moved to the Maison de l’archéologie et de l’ethnologie on the campus of the Université Paris Nanterre. The Society organizes workshops, meetings, and conferences on current topics in the field and has ensured that “Plural Ethnographies” became one of the most important centers of reflection in the field and the name of a series published by the Presses Universitaires de Paris Nanterre (PUPN).