Dr Nicholas Long

Dr Nicholas Long

Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology

+44(0)20 7955 6757
Room No
Office Hours
On sabbatical leave until Sep 2024
English, Indonesian
Key Expertise
Indonesia and the Malay World; COVID-19

About me


Nick works at the intersection of social, psychological and medical anthropology. His work explores the ramifications of political change and therapeutic innovation in post-Suharto Indonesia, and the impact of pandemic control measures in the UK and Aotearoa New Zealand. He would particularly welcome enquiries from prospective graduate students working in fields related to psychological anthropology, therapeutic traditions, affect, consciousness, COVID-19, and the ethnography of Indonesia and the Malay World. 


Understanding COVID-19 from an anthropological perspective

Nick currently leads the Care And Responsibility Under Lockdown (CARUL) Collective, an international, interdisciplinary social science research team that he founded in 2020 with Dr Sharyn Graham Davies, then based at Auckland University of Technology. The group’s first report examined the merits of New Zealand-style ‘bubbles’ as a pathway out of lockdown. This research has helped inform international policy debates about pandemic control measures, and has received coverage in outlets including BBC News, LBC, New Scientist, and The Telegraph. Nick himself summarised some of the key findings of the study in an op-ed for The Guardian

Since then, CARUL has written on multiple additional aspects of life in New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the ethical reasoning that characterised life during lockdown, homeschooling, the experiences of community healthcare and other frontline workers, emergent forms of policing and funerary practice, and the dynamics of social recovery in periods when the virus had been eliminated. 

In addition to his work in the CARUL Collective, Nick has contributed to the LSE Covid and Care group’s UK-based research on the ‘right to care’, local lockdowns, and death and bereavement during the pandemic. He has also written single-authored pieces on the limits of ‘stay-at-home’ policies, and the methodological innovations necessitated by COVID-19.


Understanding socio-cultural change in Indonesia

Nick has been conducting research in Indonesia since 2005. His first monograph, Being Malay in Indonesia, used ethnographic observation of everyday life in a newly created Indonesian province to develop a new framework for the study of political decentralisation: one which foregrounds the affective and experiential dimensions of political change. The book also offers fresh perspectives on many classic themes in the anthropology of Southeast Asia, including Malay identity, ‘spirit beliefs’, market cultures, poetry, memories of violence, and cross-border relations. 

Following a British Academy postdoc, in which he explored further aspects of political life in the Riau Islands, including the rise of post-democratic sentiment, the state’s exercise of Islamic authority, and the varied but often painful feelings associated with restoring the freedom to practice Confucianism to Indonesia’s Chinese population, Nick began researching the growth of Indonesia’s hypnosis industry. In recent years, tens of thousands Indonesians have trained as hypnotists and hypnotherapists, and hypnotherapeutic techniques have been incorporated into non-clinical spaces such as schools, offices, and family homes. Nick’s first phase of research shed light on how hypnotherapists were positioning themselves within Indonesia’s plural medical landscape, and the dynamics underpinning the speed of the nation’s ‘hypnosis boom’. This latter issue was explored within his article ‘Suggestions of Power’, which was awarded the 2019 Stirling Prize for Best Published Work in Psychological Anthropology by SPA. 

He is now working on an ESRC-funded project to further understand the dynamics of Indonesia’s hypnosis boom and their implications for anthropological theories of therapeutic governance, symbolic healing, and the suggestive realm.

Expertise Details

Indonesia and the Malay World; political change; psychological anthropology; affect; hypnosis; COVID-19; pandemic control measures; Aotearoa New Zealand

Selected publications


2013. Being Malay in Indonesia: Hopes, Histories and Citizenship in the Riau Archipelago. NUS Press.

Edited collections

2016 with Joanna Cook and Henrietta L. Moore. The State We’re In: Reflecting on Democracy’s Troubles. Berghahn. Access the introduction for free.

2013 with Henrietta L. Moore. The Social Life of Achievement. Berghahn. Access the introduction for free.

2012 with Henrietta L. Moore. Sociality: New Directions. Berghahn. Access the introduction for free.

2012 with Liana Chua, Joanna Cook, and Lee Wilson. Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power. Routledge. Access the introduction for free.

Articles and book chapters


2022 with Laumua Tunufa’i et al. ‘The most difficult time of my life’ or ‘COVID’s gift to me’? Differential experiences of COVID-19 funerary restrictions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Mortality.

2022 with Nayantara Sheoran Appleton et al. Pathways and obstacles to social recovery following the elimination of SARS-CoV-2 from Aotearoa New Zealand: a qualitative cross-sectional study. Journal of Public Health. 

2022 with Eleanor Holroyd et al. Community healthcare workers’ experiences during and after COVID-19 lockdown: a qualitative study from Aotearoa New Zealand. Health and Social Care in the Community

2021 with Nikita Simpson et al. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic: insights from a rapid qualitative study. BMJ Global Health. 

2021 with Antje Deckert et al. Safer Communities… Together? Plural policing and COVID-19 public health interventions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Policing and Society. 

2021 with Nelly Martin-Anatias et al. Lockdown Ibuism: experiences of Indonesian migrant mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific 

2021 with Susanna Trnka et al. Negotiating risks and responsibilities during lockdown: ethical reasoning and affective experience in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 

2020 with Nayantara Sheoran Appleton et al. (Alter)narratives of 'winning': supermarket and healthcare workers' experiences of COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand. Sites. 

2020 with Lucy Selman et al. Grieving During COVID-19. The Grief Channel. 

2020. From social distancing to social containment: reimagining sociality for the coronavirus pandemic. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 

2020. Lockdown Anthropology and Online Surveys: Unprecedented Methods for Unprecedented Times. Studies in Indian Politics. 

2020 with Laura Bear et al. A right to care: the social foundations of recovery from Covid-19. LSE. 

2020 with Pounamu Jade Aikman et al. Living in bubbles during the coronavirus pandemic: insights from New Zealand. LSE. 

2020 with Laura Bear et al. A Good Death’ During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the UK: A Report of Key Findings and Recommendations. LSE. 


2019. ‘Straightening what’s crooked’? Recognition as moral disruption in Indonesia’s Confucianist Revival. Anthropological Forum.

2019. ‘“Accept and Utilize”: Alternative Medicine, Minimality, and Ethics in an Indonesian Healing Collective.’ Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

2019. ‘Who Cares about Malay Music?’ in Margaret Kartomi (ed) Performing the Arts of Indonesia: Malay Identity and Politics in the Music, Dance and Theatre of the Riau Islands. NIAS Press.

2018. ‘Suggestions of power: searching for efficacy in Indonesia’s hypnosis boom’Ethos.

2017 . ‘On the Islamic authority of the Indonesian state: responsibility, suspicion, and acts of compliance’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

2017. ‘The edge of glory: theorising centre-periphery relations in and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands’. In Rethinking Power Relations in Indonesia: Transforming the Margins, edited by Michaela Haug, Martin Rössler, and Anna-Teresa Grumblies. Routledge.

2016. Why Indonesians turn against democracy. In The State We’re In: Reflecting on Democracy’s Troubles, edited by Joanna Cook, Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta L. Moore.

2011. ‘Bordering on immoral: piracy, education, and the ethics of cross-border cooperation in the Indonesian-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle’. Anthropological Theory.

2011. ‘On having achieved appropriation: anak berprestasi in Kepri, Indonesia’. In Ownership and Appropriation, edited by Veronica Strang and Mark Busse. Berg. 

2010. ‘Haunting Malayness: the multicultural uncanny in a new Indonesian province'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

2009. ‘Fruits of the orchard: land, space and state in Kepulauan Riau’. SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia.

2008. 'Rhyme and reason in the Riau Archipelago'Cambridge Anthropology.

2007. 'How to win a beauty contest in Tanjung Pinang' . Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs.


2018, ‘Postdemocracy and a politics of prefiguration’. In The Handbook of Political Anthropology, edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thommassen. Edward Elgar. 

2015. ‘For a verbatim ethnography’. In Anthropology, Theatre and Development: The Transformative Potential of Performance, edited by Alex Flynn and Jonas Tinius. Palgrave Macmillan.

2015, ‘Sociality in anthropology’. In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition, edited by J.D. Wright. Elsevier.

2012. ‘Utopian sociality. Online.’ Cambridge Anthropology 30(1): 80-94. 



My research

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