For Students of Society
An Introduction to Mike Andoscia, M.A.
I, Michael Andoscia, am an adjunct professor for Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers and a history teacher at a local high school. I have a masters degree in sociology and an undergraduate degree in social science education. I began my career in 1993 when I signed on for a two year stint with Eckerd Family Youth Alternatives (Currently Eckerd Youth Alternatives) as a wilderness counselor/teacher. This time in the wilderness with youth who were considered deviant, or who were otherwise unsuccessful in their given social ecologies, was a formative time for me. A two year commitment became a six year adventure. It was in the wilderness program that I developed my philosophy of personal choice (agency) and character development, but also learned to recognize the influence of often unrecognized social forces in the lives of individuals. Often, I witnessed young men develop a sense of self worth and character in the woods, blossom into exceptional individuals, only to return to their homes and fall back into the negativity that they just escaped. Something was amiss, and I became interested in how society impacts the individual. It was during this time that I decided to pursue a graduate degree in sociology with the hope of understanding the processes that I was witnessing.
In graduate school, under the tutelage of Professors Laurel Graham, Jennifer Friedman, Donaline Loseke, among other great teachers and mentors, I developed an interest in the sociology of knowledge, especially as it pertained to sexuality. As an educator I was assigned to develop a sex ed. curriculum for EYA. During this project I observed how the curriculum, promoted as a means of educating kids,rather became a means of controlling the sexual discourse of the clients and consequently, a means of shaping their knowledge of themselves as "normative" sexual agents. Using Foucault's concept of power/knowledge I analyzed my own curriculum as a technology of social control. It became the subject of my master's thesis, Polymorphous Techniques of Power.
After six years I left the camp. I took away from the experience many ideas on which I've acted and am in the process of developing. First, I developed a profound appreciation for the natural world and all of the wonders it holds. I have been an active environmentalist in my local community. Secondly, an educational and therapeutic philosophy took root that emphasized personal responsibility and choice as well as an understanding that a teacher or counselor must provide the resources through which good decisions can be made. I understood that "choice" takes place within a social context, a sociological ecosystem. The state of this ecosystem helps determine the quality of the decisions made by individuals. An embryonic sense of Healthy and Toxic Environments began to manifest itself in my mind.
I am currently doing independent research in what little spare time I have left on the nature of democratic government. I call this project Democracy is of the Streets. Since my participation with
members of our local Occupy Movement, I am examining the paradigms of democracy against the realities of autocratic institutional power. Don't hold your breath. This project is taking quite a while
as I do my research when I can fit it in to my work schedule.
I continue to add my political and social two cents to the world (if it is worth) at the The Mad Sociologist Blog. For
those interested, please check it out and feel free to comment (No, you don't get graded in this!)
In the meantime, I have my hands full with a beautiful wife, Jennifer, and two equally beautiful and fantastic children, Tekoa and Ainsley. I am also the author of two books, Stone is not Forever
and The Revelation of Herman Smiley
For more information go to
Website of The Andoscia Sociology Project