Dr. Tom Mountjoy
M.A., Ph.D., University of Bergen (2013)
Tom Mountjoy is an associate professor at the Department of Pedagogy, Religion and Social Studies, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.
Mountjoy’s interest in sports throughout the Pacific region stems from a lifelong admiration and curiosity of the prowess and flair shown on the sporting field by Pacific migrants in New Zealand. From the grand displays of informality played out during post-church service games of kilikiti to the dramatic effect rugby players from the Islands have had upon the New Zealand sporting scene, sport has long been a visibly integral part of the identity of the Pacific Islands. Alongside the various religious activities surrounding the church, sport has provided the most prominent unifying stage for instigating civil development and forging a certain sense of nationalism in the fragile nation states of Melanesia and elsewhere in the Pacific. The anthropology of sport tries to understand the social and cultural contexts in which sports exist and in turn how these contexts are influenced by sport. The social worlds that people create in connection with sporting practice and the experiences of groups and individuals associated with these social worlds are ultimately questions that are crucial to anthropological debate. These perspectives were central in Mountjoy’s PhD research, which was based on participant observation with Solomon Islands teams of soccer, futsal and beach soccer over several years, both at home in the Solomons and internationally.
Mountjoy’s current research interests focus on gender, religion, mobility, health, nationalism and colonialism – with a continued attention to forms of embodiment and sporting practice in Melanesia. These interests are viewed through a multifocal lens, adopting a range of methodological and philosophical approaches.