Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences
Name: Institute of Cultural Studies
Phone: 84-4- 9784868
Fax: 84-4- 9725903
Address: No.27 Tran Xuan Soan Street, Hai Ba Trung Dist., Hanoi

Institute of Cultural Studies

The Institute of Cultural Studies (ICS), a research institution under the administration of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), was founded according to the Decision of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers on 9 September 1983. The Institute’s predecessor is the Department of Folklore Studies in the Commission of Social Sciences of Vietnam (which is now renamed as Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences).

Based on the Decision No. 261/QD-KHXH signed by the President of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences on 27 February 2013, the Institute of Cultural Studies is responsible for undertaking some basic functions, including: (1) to do research on fundamental issues involved with cultures and cultural studies in Vietnam, in order to build scientific grounds on cultural development for the strategy-planning and policy-making that aims at socialist-oriented sustainable development; (2) to provide postgraduate training on cultural studies and folklore; and (3) to take part in development of cultural scientific potentialities of the whole country.

Cultural Studies Review, an official and unique organ of the Institute of Cultural Studies, started to run in 1983. At first, it was published quarterly, but it has been published bimonthly from 2001 up to now.   


1. Major achievements in scientific research

In conducting research activities within the functions assigned by VASS, the Institute of Cultural Studies has gained achievements in some major areas as enumerated below:  

To build step-by-step the theoretical grounds on cultural studies

Through a lot of research programs and projects, the Institute of Cultural Studies has gradually clarified the research goals, research objects and tasks relating to the folklore science. Some research projects were highly appreciated, such as: “On the way of studying the folklore” - a component of the series of research projects, for which Prof. Dinh Gia Khanh received the Ho Chi Minh Prize in the first season (1996); “Folklore: Research Areas”; “Folklore: Research Methods”; Conceptions of Folklore (by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh as the chief author); Vietnam Folklore Research Introduction (by Prof. Vu Ngoc Khanh as the chief author); Folklore researchers (by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Kinh as the chief author).

To do comprehensive and overall research on the folklore

The achievements gained by the Institute in comprehensive and overall research on the folklore can be shown through research works divided into some specific groups as below:

Firstly, it is the group of geographically research works on the folklore in Vinh Phuc, Hanoi, and Nghe Tinh Provinces. Of those research works, the most outstanding is the Nghe Tinh Folklore Geography (by Prof. Nguyen Dong Chi as the chief author), for which the Ho Chi Minh Prize was awarded by the President of Vietnam in the first season (in 1996).

Next is the group of dictionary-related works, of which some are really prominent such as “The folklore terminology” (by Prof. Vu Ngoc Khanh); “Folklore Dictionary” (by Prof. Dr. Kieu Thu Hoach as the chief author).

In the group of regional cultural studies, there are some significant publications such as Coastal village folklore (by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh as the chief author); Regional culture and cultural localization in Vietnam (by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh as the chief author); and Cultural regions in Vietnam (by Prof. Dinh Gia Khanh and Cu Huy Can as the chief authors).

Regarding to the group of research works involved with the regional context, it is necessary to mention the publication titled “Vietnam’s folklore in the context of Southeast Asian Culture”, which is the first research book on Vietnam’s folklore in relation with the context of the regional cultures.

Finally, it is the group of other research works, such as: Traditional culture of Dong Ky Village (by Prof. Dr. Le Hong Ly as the chief author); and, Aspects of the folklore of M’nong Noong people (by Prof. Do Hong Ky); etc...

To do research on folklore components and in-depth research on specific aspects

Within activities carried out by the Institute of Cultural Studies, research works on the folk literature was done relatively early with diversified research objects. Folk literature has been studied in two trends. The first one is to view folk literature as an object of the literary science; it has been therefore studied with the norms and methods of the literary science. The second one is to view folk literature as a component in the whole folklore. In Vietnam, the two trends are not mutually exclusive, but they are really helpful to supplement each other.

In terms of the folklore research, the Institute has edited and published large series of reference books, such as The Treasure of Vietnamese Folk-songs (by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Kinh and Prof. Dr. Phan Dang Nhat as the chief authors) that contains 12,487 folksongs; The Treasure of Vietnamese Proverbs (by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Kinh as the chief author) that contains 16,098 proverbs collected from 63 books available; and The General Collection of Vietnamese Folk Literature that consists of 19 volumes, which introduce folk literature by type.

ICS has also published a lot of in-depth research works on folk literature systematically, such as: Folksong Prosody (by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Kinh); Nôm Stories: Origins and Nature of Genres (by Prof. Dr. Kieu Thu Hoach); Treatise “Role of the Folk Literature in Vietnamese Modern Prose” (by Prof. Dr. Vo Quang Trong); and “Epics of Ede People” (by Prof. Dr. Phan Dang Nhat); etc…

Folk beliefs and festivities are a sensitive and highly topical area of research. Thanks to the Government’s open policy and new viewpoint, the Institute has conducted for the recent 10 years a number of research works on folk beliefs and festivities, traditional performing arts, traditional trade villages and folk visual arts, customary law and village conventions etc... Following are some outstanding research works at the Institute: Traditional festivities (by Assoc. Prof. Le Trung Vu as the chief author); Beliefs and belief-based culture in Vietnam (by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh as the chief author); Outline of the dancing arts (by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Ngoc Canh); Folk belief-based dancing in Vietnam (by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Ngoc Canh), Rituals and music in the rites of Jrai people (M.A. To Dong Hao); Customary law of Ede people: Legal customs (Multi-author); Customary law of Jrai people (by Phan Dang Nhat as the chief author); and, Customary law and rural development at present in Vietnam (by Prof. Dr. Ngo Duc Thinh and Phan Dang Nhat as the chief authors); etc…

Applied research and cultural anthropology

In this field, the Institute of Cultural Studies has collaborated with different sectors and local institutions to carry out applied research programs and conferences; for example, the scientific conference on customary law and rural development in Vietnam (1999); the applied research project and conference on the customary law and village conventions in rural management for ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands at present; the conference on the family-line and the culture of family-line in building social relationships in the rural; the conference on preservation and promotion of Hue cultural heritage in the context of industrialization and modernization; the research program on modern folklore; and, the research program on the role of festivities in modern social life.

In addition, every year ICS holds a conference for cultural announcement and a conference on business culture. At present, the Institute is continuing to complete the series of publications titled “History of Vietnam Culture”. According to the approved proposal, the series consist of six volumes, of which five ones were already done by the end of 2012.

2. Achievements in cooperation with local partners

For over 30 years of foundation and development, one of important activities conducted by the Institute is to cooperate with local institutions from all over the country in carrying out research and collecting folklore information. With such cooperation, many research projects have been done, of which the most outstanding are folklore geographical books of cities and provinces, such as: Thang Long – Dong Do – Hanoi Folklore Geography; Nghe Tinh Folklore Geography; Traditional cultures of Northern Central provinces; Family-line Culture in Nghe An; and, Family-line Culture in Thai Binh; etc… From 1984 up to now, ICS has collaborated with Daklak Province to conduct surveys, collection, and research on Daklak Folklore. Nearly 20 publications on folklore of different ethnic minorities within the province have been published, such as: The Central Highlands Epics; Folklore of Ede People; Folklore of M’nong People; Customary Law of M’nong People; and, Ot Nrong Epic of M’nong People. The Institute has also held a lot of conferences on these issues, of which two ones are international scientific conferences, including: The Central Highlands Epics (1998) and Customary Law and Rural Development in Vietnam (1999). The cooperation plays a significant role in preservation of cultural heritages that have been encountering the risk of being lost in oblivion.

Furthermore, the Institute has close relations and effective cooperation with Vietnam’s Folklore Association, Social Science Publishing House, Hanoi University of Culture and many other institutions/organizations.

3. Achievements in postgraduate training

In addition to doing research, the Institute also undertakes the function of providing postgraduate training. In November 1994, ICS was assigned by the Minister of Education and Training to carry out the task of postgraduate training on folklore. The Institute, therefore, collaborated with Hanoi University of Culture to provide postgraduate training on cultural studies for Master’s students. By 2009, the Institute provided training for 310 postgraduate students, of which 188 got the Master’s degree. Remarkably, the Institute provided a particular training course funded by the Ford Foundation for 12 people, who are indigenous people in the Central Highlands. In March 2001, ICS was assigned by the Minister of Education and Training to provide doctoral training on the folklore studies. By 2009, before the training function was completely undertaken by the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences (GASS), 19 students, of whom many dissertations were published, successfully achieved their PhD degree at the Institute; and 36 students were still taking the PhD training (those of the 9th Course not included).

Reviewing the past 33 years of foundation and development of the Institute of Cultural Studies, it is recognized that the Institute has obviously developed in different aspects: the quality as well as the quantity of research works has been increasingly higher; and, the training prestige has been continually improved. For the above-mentioned achievements, the Institute of Cultural Studies honorably received the Medal of Labor (Second Class) from the State. Many officials and scientists of the Institute have been also awarded noble prizes, such as the Ho Chi Minh Prize, the State Prize in Literature and Art, the State Prize in Sciences and Technology etc...


Institute of Cultural Studies