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Allison Marie Loconto

Allison Marie Loconto

session, year:
2017 1st


Receiving laboratory:
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Country of origin:


Country of destination:

United States of America

Last available contact

Download Curriculum Vitae

Mobility project

Institutional innovations that Value Sustainability in local food systems

InValueS project is based on extending the concept of ‘value’ chains, which enable the circulation of the values, knowledge, techniques, and socio-technical devices through which food systems are governed. The main objective is to rethink the role of standardization and innovation in transitions to sustainable agriculture. From this perspective, the project is positioned around an overarching research question that enables empirical exploration of questions that are at the heart of local and global debates: what are the social, institutional, techno-economic and governing contexts necessary for innovative sustainable agriculture practices to take hold? This question supposes the ‘institutionalization’ of sustainable agriculture as a specific ‘value’ both by the diffusion of knowledge and techniques and by the forms of governing that are created locally and globally. InValueS draws upon Science and Technology Studies 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 that there it focuses on how values (such as responsibility and sustainability) are known and practiced in specific locales. Analytically, the project follows how knowledge, inscribed in specific technologies (particularly standards and models), emerges, circulates, standardizes and stabilizes into innovative configurations. The project explores the effects of these innovations on the sustainability and responsibility of how food is produced, transformed and consumed. Empirically, the research is focused both within specific countries in Africa and Latin America and within international multi-actor platforms (UNEP 10YFP Sustainable Food Systems Program), which hosts the participatory action research project: Sustainability Along all Value chains: co-constructing actionable knowledge for SFS Innovation.

Biography & research interests

Allison Marie Loconto is a Research Scientist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and a Research Fellow in the Harvard Kennedy School’s STS Program. 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. Her research examines the governance of transitions to sustainable food systems, paying specific attention to role of standards, metrics and intermediaries in these processes. Allison is the co-leader of the thematic area on Transitions, Emergences and Transformations in her Parisbased research lab, Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations et Sociétés (LISIS). LISISis 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. 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.


Selected publications

Loconto, A., Jimenez, A. and E. Vandecandelaere, 2018. Constructing markets for agroecology. An analysis of diverse options for marketing products from agroecology. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Inra Editor, pp 256.

Loconto, A. and D. Demortain, 2017. “Standardization as spaces of diversity.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 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. 670(1): 1-21.

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, 34(1): 1-14.

Talks in annual meetings

Innovations in Valuing Sustainability
2019 / P7 Economics, Social Sciences / by Allison Marie Loconto / Fellows Speed Presentation


Governance; Innovation; Knowledge Infrastructures; Institutions; Markets; Metrics; Standards; Transitions; Valuation; Sustainable Food Systems