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65 5th Ave, Room 411
New York, NY, 10003
United States

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at the New School incubates advanced transdisciplinary research and practice at the intersection of social theory and design and fosters dialogue on related themes across the university.


Biko Koenig

Biko Koenig is a Ph.D. candidate in Politics at The New School for Social Research exploring food systems, labor issues, and social movements through an ethnography of a New York City workers' center.

BIKO KOENIG is a Ph.D. candidate in Politics at The New School for Social Research. His current research focuses on qualitative and ethnographic studies of food systems, labor issues, and social movements at a workers’ center in New York City.
The U.S. economy and social contract have changed dramatically since the 1970s; stagnant wage growth for the working class and the skyrocketing wealth of the rich all point to a society that is far more unequal now than it was 40 years ago. These economic disparities are themselves bound up in spatial inequalities, as an increasingly urban population becomes stratified along class lines through the historical processes of white flight, the decline of urban manufacturing, and gentrification. In the face of these challenges, there are nonetheless multiple examples of working people struggling to improve their material, spatial, and political conditions. Using recent examples of labor activity in the food-manufacturing sector as its focus, this project takes up these issues of social change from the vantage point of the “alt-labor” movement: those advocacy organizations, political networks, and bottom-up worker centers that tackle a variety of issues associated with low-income work, immigration, and political access.