Tomi Bartole, PhD

Research Assistant

Tomi Bartole is conducting his field research among the Arafundi-speaking people of Awim in the East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea. His first fieldwork was carried out for 12 months between 2013/14, while Bartole is currently preparing to undergo another fieldwork in 2019. His first research project touches upon the relationship between traditional rituals and Christianity, and how people manipulate and redefine these in transactions as objects of transactions. The methodology employed consists of an ethnographic study of the tension between tradition and Christianity in which haptic, i.e. related to touch and touching, local categories are given priority over visual ones. While Melanesian ethnography has traditionally focused on the latter, Bartole is developing the thesis that haptic local categories reveal social realities to which a visually based epistemology does not have access to.

The second and ongoing research project continues and extends the first one and deals with Pacific forms of governance, which allows to explore the domains of knowledge, power and freedom in Melanesia.

In addition to the above, Bartole also deals with questions of language, ontology, food, law, technology and materiality.



Sutasoma/RAI Award of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2016
  • BARTOLE, Tomi, 2019: The structure of the phonetical touch: unsettling the mastery of phonology over phonetics. In: KOMEL, Mirt (ed.). The language of touch: philosophical examinations in linguistics and haptic studies. London [etc.]: Bloomsbury Academic, str. 19-37.
  • BARTOLE, Tomi, 2018, "How much you give is your decision, it is your life": an indigenous alternative to Robbinsʹ individual. Paper presented at the 12th Conference of the European Society for Oceanists, 7th–10th December, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
  • BARTOLE, Tomi, 2018, Giving (up) a traditional problem-solving ritual: Materialisation of power and self-transformation amongst the people of Awim, East Sepik Province. Le Journal de la Société des Océanistes, Special Issue, Le Sepik: société et production matérielle, 146, 63–72.
  • –––––, 2017, V čem je trik ontološkega obrata? : Holbraad, fikcija in etnografija=What is the trick of the ontological turn?: Holbraad, fiction and ethnography. The Bulletin of the Slovene Ethnological Society 57(3/4), 22–26.
  • –––––, 2017, Verovanje in učinkovitost: materialnost praks zdravljenj binkoštne družbe v vasi Awim na Papui Novi Gvineji = Belief and efficacy: material aspects of the healing practices of the Pentecostal Ministry in the village of Awim, Papua New Guinea. The Bulletin of the Slovene Ethnological Society 57(1/2), 16–25.
  • –––––, 2012, The structure of embodiment and the overcoming of dualism: An analysis of Margaret Lockʼs paradigm of embodiment. Dialectical anthropology 36(1), 89–106.

BSc in Political Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, 2007

MSc in Medical Anthropology, Graduate School ZRC SAZU, University of Nova Gorica, 2010

PhD in Social Anthropology, School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies, University of St Andrews, 2017

social and cultural anthropology • tradition • christianity • rituals • governance • touch • Papua New Guinea • Melanesia