What is MoLab?

What is MoLab?

MoLab is an online, open-access inventory for mobility researchers from across disciplines and across the globe. It is a place to actively exchange ideas and observations about how mobilities are triggering changes in economic and social life. In exploring how mobilities are socially organized, and how, in turn, mobilities can transform socioeconomic relations, MoLab contributors ask questions like:

  • how have intersections between capital, labour, technology and regulation turned mobility into a commodity, such as in the delivery service industry?
  • how do changes in mobility infrastructures—ranging from transport systems to logistical businesses—affect social relations?
  • why do increasing numbers of people migrate for better education, health care and living environment, rather than for economic reasons?

At the heart of the platform are the “entries”, 500 to 3000 words in length, which provide reliable empirical data or informed hypotheses that the author and other researchers can build on to develop larger ideas. We also have multimedia entries, in which scholars are invited to speak on mobility themes.


Contributing to generative, cumulative and communicative research on socioeconomic changes.


Generative research develops new questions and insights, rather than applying what we already know to specific cases. Human practices, and changing forms of mobility in particular, have the potential to create new social relations. The entries in MoLab probe emerging dynamics of social change in mundane mobilities.


Cumulative research brings material from diverse sources together in a progressively deepening way. Migration and mobility studies since the 1990s have generated large amounts of data, but it remains largely fragmented. MoLab provides a space to explore unifying threads.


Communicative knowledge speaks to the people with whom we work, especially those in marginal positions. In order to do so, the entries focus on the internal dynamics of practices as people experience them, rather than assessing general phenomena according to external criteria. Entries that engage with migrants’ concerns—for instance how they perceive uncertainty, fairness, stress, pressure, and autonomy—are especially encouraged.


A global community of contributors and users

Part of our central mission is to cultivate a new generation of researchers who will ask big questions based on detailed evidence and can speak across fields and disciplines. To this end, we would like to invite you to contribute as:

  • authors, who contribute entries;
  • guest curators, who develop new subthemes and solicit entries;
  • workshop organizers, who develop material into larger ideas, collective publications, and research projects;
  • users, who draw on material in MoLab to develop arguments into academic research.

Your participation, as contributors and as users, is the lifeblood of MoLab.

All entries are assigned DOI numbers. They will be searchable and fully quotable as a permanent publications. MoLab adopt rules of Creative Commons License CC BY. See Contribute for details.


Contact us at molabinventory@eth.mpg.de


Follow us on Twitter: MoLab Max Planck @MaxMolab

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