Tom Bratrud

Postdoctoral fellow
Image of Tom Bratrud
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Tom Bratrud is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology and part of the project Private Lives: Embedding Sociality at Digital 'Kitchen-tables'. His research focuses on values, social life and political dynamics in the South Pacific and Nordics.

Bratrud’s current research examines everyday life with digital technology in rural Norway. Focus areas include (1) how digital technologies enable new forms of urban-rural mobility, (2) farmers’ need to expand and automatise to comply with new demands from the government and market, and (3) reality formation in enmeshed online/offline worlds.

Bratrud's initial research focuses on the intersection of religion, morality and politics of land in Vanuatu. This work, based on 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork from 2010-2017, has resulted in the monograph Fire on the Island: Fear, Hope and a Christian Revival in Vanuatu (2022, Berghahn Books). The book examines a startling child-led Christian revival movement that developed on Ahamb Island in 2014 as a social and ethical reform in the wake of enduring political disputes. However, the movement had a dramatic turn when two men claimed to be sorcerers and responsible for many of the community’s problems were killed. The book’s main theoretical contribution concerns how fear and hope are powerful sentiments that work together to become a potent driving force for change, but where the outcome can easily escape the initiators' control.

Academic Interests

Topics: Social organisation, worldviews, religion, values, politics of land, nature/environment, continuity and change, urban-rural dynamics

Regional interests: The South Pacific, the Nordics


Higher education and employment history


  • PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, 2018
  • MA in Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, 2011

Previous academic positions:

  • Associate Professor, Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway, 2019-2021.
  • Senior lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, 2018-2019.
  • Seminar leader, Religion and Power, Kulturstudier/Oslo Metropolitan University (Pondicherry, India), 2011.

Research projects

  • 2021-24: Persistence and Change in Social Formations: Digital Everyday Lives in Rural Norway (NSD project # 912121)
  • 2020-22: Local Communities and Part-Time Residents in Rural Norway (NSD project # 930504)
  • 2013-17: Land, Sea, Life: Engagements in the Wider World (doctoral project)

Honoraria and grants


Tags: Social organisation, Cosmology, Social change, Religion, Morality, Values, Urbanity, Rurality


Books (peer-reviewed)
Bratrud, Tom. 2022. Fire on the Island: Fear, Hope and a Christian Revival in Vanuatu. Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books. DOI:

Bratrud, Tom. 2018. The Salvesen Ami Dance: Custom, Christianity and Cultural Creativity in South Malekula, Vanuatu. Oslo: The Kon-Tiki Museum

Special journal issues/edited volumes (peer-reviewed)
Bratrud, Tom, Ingjerd Hoëm & Keir Martin (eds). 2021. Dependence in Oceania (special issue). Oceania 91(2).

Bratrud, Tom & Tuva Broch (eds). 2020. (The) Home in and after Gullestad (special issue). Norwegian Anthropological Journal 31(1-2).

Articles and book chapters (peer-reviewed)
Bratrud, Tom. 2022. Ambiguity in a Charismatic Revival: Inverting Gender, Age and Power Relations in Vanuatu. Ethnos 87(4): 713-731. DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2019.1696855

Kolshus, Thorgeir & Tom Bratrud. 2022. Frihetsbalansen. In Charlotte Lundgren (ed). Psykisk oppvekst: Barn og unges psykiske helse fra 0-25 år. Oslo: The Norwegian Council for Mental Health.

Bratrud, Tom. 2021. What is Love? The Complex Relation between Values and Practice in VanuatuJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27(3): 461-477. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.13546.

Bratrud, Tom. 2021. Asserting Land, Estranging Kin: On Competing Relations of Dependence in Vanuatu. Oceania 91(2): 280-295. DOI: 10.1002/ocea.5305.

Bratrud, Tom. 2021. The Sorcerer as Folk Devil in Contemporary Melanesia. In Martin Demant Frederiksen & Ida Harboe Knudsen (eds.). Modern Folk Devils: Contemporary Constructions of Evil. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 47–61. DOI:

Bratrud, Tom & Marianne E. Lien. 2021. The Cabin, the Village and the City: Negotiating Belonging in Times of Crisis. Norwegian Anthropological Journal 32(2): 55-71. DOI:

Bratrud, Tom. 2020. Paradoxes of (In)security and Moral Regeneration in Vanuatu and BeyondJournal of Extreme Anthropology 4(1): 177-197. DOI:

Bratrud, Tom. 2019. Fear and Hope in Vanuatu PentecostalismPaideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde 65(1): 111-132.

Rangelov, Tihomir, Tom Bratrud & Julie Barbour. 2019. Ahamb (Malekula, Vanuatu) – Language Context. Language Documentation and Description 16(1): 86-126.

Bratrud, Tom. 2017. Spiritual War: Revival, Child Prophecies, and a Battle over Sorcery in Vanuatu. In Knut M. Rio, Michelle MacCarthy & Ruy Blanes (eds). Pentecostalism and Witchcraft: Spiritual Warfare in Africa and Melanesia. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 211–233. DOI:

Bratrud, Tom. 2013. Bisnis, Risriskure, Sociality: Melanesian Egality and Monetary Modernity on Ahamb, VanuatuNorwegian Anthropological Journal (24)2: 100-111.

Bratrud, Tom. 2022. Like Fire: The Paliau Movement and Millennarianism in MelanesiaJournal of Pacific History 57(1-2). DOI: 10.1080/00223344.2022.2039843 (book review)

Bratrud, Tom. 2014. Foodways and Empathy: Relatedness in a Ramu River Society, Papua New GuineaAnthropos 109(2): 733-734 (book review)

Felix Sam, Tomsen Sam, Hedrick Peter, Graham Thomas, Morvel Tom & Tom Bratrud (eds). 2014. Some Stories and Songs from Ahamb Island. In Ahamb Language and Bislama. Port Vila: Vanuatu Cultural Centre.

Bratrud, Tom. 2012. Social and Cultural Aspects of Climate Change and other Environmental Hazards: Experiences from Ahamb Island, South Malakula, Vanuatu. Report for Vanuatu Cultural Centre and Vanuatu Department of Meteorology.

Media and talks
See overview in Cristin.

View all works in Cristin

  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Fire on the Island: Fear, Hope and a Christian Revival in Vanuatu. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781800734647. 276 p.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). The Salvesen Ami Dance: Custom, Christianity and Cultural Creativity in South Malekula, Vanuatu. Kon-Tiki Museum. Occasional Papers. ISBN 978-82-92967-18-8. 111 p.
  • Gjøstein, Dagrun Kyte; Knutsen, Lene Vea; Bratrud, Tom; Christensen, Elise; Bardalen, Ingunn & Thorbjørnsen, Vilde Fastvold [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2011). Betwixt & Between 2011. Betwixt & Between, Sosialantropologisk institutt. ISBN 978-82-90835-37-3. 153 p.

View all works in Cristin

  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Livssyns-shopping til gravferden. NRK, P2.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). D2 Life: De-territorializing the Urban-Rural Divide in the Mountains of Norway.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Private Lives: Co-creative Methods and/in the Digital Dimension.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Digital Everyday Lives in Rural Norway.
  • Lien, Marianne Elisabeth; Bratrud, Tom & Salinas, Cecilia G. (2022). Private Lives: Embedding Sociality at Digital 'Kitchen tables' .
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Status Work in Egalitarian Spaces: Bragging Posts from Nature in Norway.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). A Sea of Possibilities or Not: The Necessity of Social Work for Accessing Waterways in Vanuatu.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). When God became Real on Ahamb: Spiritual Experience, Materiality and Persuasion in Vanuatu .
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Fjellets verdi - for hva og hvem? Kryssende linjer av idyll og strid.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Et liv med lunefull natur: Noen perspektiver fra Stillehavet.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Oslo-borgere tar byen sin i forsvar: – Vi har tilgang på fantastisk natur. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.). ISSN 0804-3116.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Klemmekultur under press.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). Tilflytting til bygda: En erfaringsdeling til Etnedal.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2022). To Build or Not to Build: The Holiday Home Boom and Future Commons in Valdres, Norway.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Om gaven, i "Ukeslutt", NRK P2. NRK, P2.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). «Hvem er egentlig viktigst her?»:Forhandling om tilhørighet, definisjonsmakt og fremtid i hyttebygda Fjelldal .
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Work from nature, save a community: The social grounds and implications of a tech co-working space in rural Norway.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Hvem er vi, og hvem vil vi være i framtida? Avisa Valdres.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Tom Cruise-effekten.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Fra landsbystudier i Melanesia til den nordiske bygd: Muligheter og utfordringer med ‘den holistiske tilnærmingen’ i digitaliserte hverdagsliv.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2021). Usikker på munnbind-reglene? Dette må du vite. [Internet]. TV2.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2020). Frå Valdres til Vanuatu.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2020). Går mot hyttesommer i Norge. [TV]. NRK Nyheter.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2020). - Et gjensidig avhengighetsforhold. [Newspaper]. Valdresmagasinet (Avisa-Valdres).
  • Bratrud, Tom (2020). - Et gjensigig avhengighetsforhold. [Newspaper]. Valdresmagasinet (Avisa-Valdres).
  • Bratrud, Tom (2020). Hvorfor blir det krangel mellom fastboende og hytteeiere? [Radio]. NRK P1 Østlandssendingen.
  • Lien, Marianne Elisabeth & Bratrud, Tom (2020). Hytta, korona og drømmen om å klare seg selv. [Newspaper]. Aftenposten.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2019). Fire on the Island. Fear, hope and a Christian revival movement in Vanuatu.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Hva er en hvit elefant? [Radio]. NRK Østlandssendingen.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). The Prince Phillip Movement. [Radio]. NRK P1. Mellom himmel og jord.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Cargo-kultene i Stillehavet. [Radio].
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Når en vekkelse tar et samfunn. [Radio]. NRK P2. Program: Ekko.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Disputerte med guddommeliggjorte barn. [Newspaper]. Avisa Valdres.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Born blei kristna for å redde stillehavsøy frå moralsk krise. [Internet].
  • Bratrud, Tom (2015). Dette bør du ikke gi til jul. [Internet]. NRK Nordland.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2015). Stedstilhørighet og flytting by-land. [Radio]. NRK, Østlandssendingen.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2015). Black Friday. [TV]. NRK, Østlandssendingen.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2015). Julegaver betyr mye for oss. [Internet]. NRK Ytring.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2015). Gaver - limet som holder oss sammen. [Radio]. NRK P2, Ytring.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2014). Review of Foodways and Empathy. Relatedness in a Ramu River Society, Papua New Guinea. Anthropos: Internationale Zeitschrift für Völker- und Sprachenkunde. ISSN 0257-9774.
  • Bratrud, Tom (2018). Fire on the Island: The Transformative Power of a Christian Revival in Vanuatu. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo.

View all works in Cristin

Published Aug. 22, 2013 10:03 AM - Last modified Dec. 7, 2022 12:23 PM