Department of Sociology

Graduate Students

Joseph Anthony Astorino


Areas of Interest

Sociology of Science, Environmental Sociology, Sociology of Agriculture, Stratification, Pedagogy, and Service Learning


BA in Sociology and Psychology, Saint Vincent College
MA in Sociology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Current Research

My dissertation uses an ethnographic approach to compare the fields of biotechnology and organic agricultural sciences. I employ actor network theory in my work, but extend it in new directions. Traditional actor network approaches are flat and tend to not engage the dimensions of space and place. I develop the concept of cultural assemblages to capture the way socio-material networks are performed as places in science. For the past two years I have collected data from participant observation in laboratory groups in two contrasting agricultural disciplines, one biotech and one organic. By combining my fieldwork data with additional data from professional meetings, farm field-days, in-depth interviews with key informants, and content analysis of secondary materials, my dissertation examines the formation of two distinct cultural assemblages. I am currently building a qualitative database of transcripts, field-notes and secondary material to be analyzed for the themes of the role of biological objects within epistemic cultures. Finally, I compare the spatial dimension of each network assemblage through concepts such as distance and breadth of items within each respective lab group. This research may result in conceptualizing laboratory and field-based disciplines as being rooted in the context of physical and symbolic places in the age of globalization.


Recent Presentations

Astorino J., J. Goldberger, R. Torcasso. "The Influence of Social Networks, Environmental Consciousness, and Farm Structure on the Adoption of a Sustainable Agriculture Practice" Presentation given at Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society Conference, 2013

Astorino J. "Scientific Spaces within Alternative Agricultural Places" Presentation given at Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference, 2012


Joe Astorino

Contact Joseph

Office: Wilson-Short 147
Phone: (509) 335-4595 (msgs)

Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


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