Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

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Allison Marie Loconto

Allison Marie Loconto

allison-marie.loconto (at)

Allison Marie Loconto is a Researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Harvard Kennedy School’s STS Program. Her research examines the governance of transitions to sustainable food systems, paying specific attention to role of standards, metrics and intermediaries in these processes. Her current project (InValueS), funded through the EU FP7 sponsored AgreenSkills+ programme, explores and extends the concept of ‘value’ chains, which enable the circulation of the values, knowledge, techniques, and socio-technical devices through which food systems are governed.

Allison draws upon STS theories of socio-technical infrastructures, sociology of standards and economic sociology theories of valuation in order to understand how a range of actors are working towards making their food systems sustainable. Practically, this means focusing on how values (such as responsibility and sustainability) are known and practiced in specific locales. Analytically, she follows how knowledge, inscribed in specific technologies (particularly standards, models and metrics), emerges, circulates, standardizes and stabilizes into innovative configurations. Allison is principally concerned with better understanding the effects of these innovations on the sustainability and responsibility of how food is produced, transformed and consumed.

Allison is the co-leader of the thematic area on Transitions, Emergences and Transformations in her Paris-based research lab: Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations et Sociétés (LISIS); is a member of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Society (IFRIS); and is part of the Colleggio dei Docenti in the Department of Agrarian, Food and Agro-environmental Sciences (DiSAAA-a) at the University of Pisa. Since 2013, Allison has been a Visiting Scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leading a participatory research project with innovators across more than 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. This work is part of the Sustainability Along all Value chains: co-producing actionable knowledge for SFS Innovation (SAVI) Core Initiative 3 of the 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Programme. Recent and current research projects focus on Responsible Research and Innovation, Institutionalizations of Agroecologies, Governing by Models, and decision-making around the use of Fairtrade premiums. She is the lead author of two recent internationally comparative studies: Constructing Markets for Agroecology (FAO, 2018) and Innovative markets for sustainable agriculture (FAO, 2016). She holds a PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University and a MA in International Affairs and Development from The American University in Washington, DC.


Fouilleux, F. and A. Loconto. 2017. « En coulisse des labels… Gouverner par les imbrications de marchés. Dynamiques de marchandisation de l’agriculture biologique. » Revue Française de Sociologie 58(3): 1-30.

Loconto, A. and D. Demortain. 2017. “Standardization as spaces of diversity.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society Vol. 3: 382-392. DOI : 10.17351/ests2017.155

Loconto, A. and M. Hatanaka. 2017. Participatory Guarantee Systems: Alternative Ways of Defining, Measuring, and Assessing “Sustainability” Sociologia Ruralis (Online First) DOI : 10.1111/soru.12187

Loconto, A. 2017. “Models of Assurance: Diversity and Standardization of Modes of Intermediation.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 670(1): 1-21. doi: 10.1177/0002716217692517.

Fouilleux, E., and A. Loconto. 2017. “Voluntary standards, certification, and accreditation in the global organic agriculture field: a tripartite model of techno-politics.” Agriculture and Human Values Vol. 34(1): 1-14. doi:10.1007/s10460-016-9686-3.

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