Invitation to Participate

Invitation to Participate

The MoLab Inventory of Mobilities and Socioeconomic Changes documents ongoing changes in human mobilities and explores new lines of enquiry about socioeconomic changes through the lens of mobility. An initiative of the Department of Anthropology of Economic Experimentation at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, the Inventory is an open knowledge repository and thought workshop. It aspires to serve the community of migration and mobilities studies across disciplines.

We warmly invite you to participate as:

  • Entry Authors who contribute individual entries;
  • Guest Curators who develop new themes, or preferably new subthemes under existing themes;
  • Workshop Organizers, who develop materials in the Inventory into larger ideas, collective publications, and research projects;
  • Article Authors who develop materials in the Inventory into systematic arguments.

We can provide support. Please send your manuscript, proposal or request to


Entry Author

You may contribute individual entries under an existing theme (currently Shock (Im)mobilities; Securitizing Mobilities; Mobility Events; Mobile Livelihoods; Mobility Business).

Consisting of narratives running between 500 and 3000 words, each entry focuses on a case of changing patterns or meanings of mobilities. Examples include: intensified clandestine movements during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020; the rapid development of the “mobility business,” as represented by the delivery service industry since the early 2010s; and the world-wide adoption of mobility monitoring technologies.

As the Inventory aims to make mobility studies more cumulative, it is essential that the entry is evidence-based, demonstrates a phenomenon that has not been sufficiently understood, and contributes to the development of one of the themes in the Inventory. 

When published, each entry will be assigned a DOI number and will be searchable and fully quotable as a permanent publication.

There is no deadline for submission. Please formulate your manuscript according to the Style Guidelines and identify which theme your entry addresses.


Guest Curator

The guest curator proposes a new theme, or preferably a new subtheme within our existing themes. If your proposal is accepted, you will solicit entries and improve the texts with the contributors. You could use this process to facilitate the development of a collaborative project, a special issue of a journal, an edited volume or a workshop. We will provide 2,000 Euro for each theme to cover costs associated with curating and editing contributions. We can also offer editorial and administrative support if needed.

Given the Department’s research focus on economic experimentation, we are especially interested in proposals that will develop the themes of Mobility Business, Mobile Livelihoods, and Securitizing Mobilities. If you wish to propose new themes, please explicate how the theme, including the envisioned subthemes, will contribute to the overall research agenda of the Department.

Those interested can send us:

(1) a one-page statement that explains what the subtheme is about, how it could lead to new lines of enquiry into socioeconomic change through the lens of mobility, and possible entry topics;

(2) one or more entry;

(3) your CV, including publications.

As it takes time to develop new lines of thinking, you are expected to commit to the curatorial work for at least one year. A subtheme without new entries for 6 months will be closed and moved to the Archive. 

You can send in your proposals anytime. Proposals will be reviewed four times a year, respectively at the end of January, April, July and October. 


Workshop Organizer

We support small workshops that develop materials in the Inventory into impactful ideas or new research projects. You are welcome to broaden the existing scenes by bringing in additional data and theoretical perspectives or deepen our thinking by focusing on a particular region or group.

Those interested can send us:

(1) a statement of the central theme of the workshop (no more than one page). The main research question or subject matter can be other than those covered by the Inventory, but it should be directly related to mobilities and socioeconomic change.

(2) an explanation of how the workshop is related to the Inventory, particularly how the workshop will synergize existing knowledge and develop new research angles or research questions;

(3) anticipated outputs;

(4) anticipated participants (names, institutional affiliations, expertise);

(5) total budget and the financial support required;

(6) your CV, including publications.

Proposals from prospective workshop organizers can be submitted anytime, and they will be reviewed twice a year, respectively at the end of May and the end of November. Unless organized as a virtual discussion, physical workshops should take place in Halle, with a MPI member as a co-organizer. You should submit the proposal at least 24 months before the workshop.


Article Author

Everybody is welcome to use material in the inventory as long as properly acknowledged. Please let us know if your articles that cite this Inventory are published. We will be proud to promote your publications on our website and through our networks.

We can provide support for those who need help in developing formal publications, for example with English editing or financial support for accessing certain datasets. Entry authors who plan to extend their entries into full publications are eligible for this support.

Please send us:

(1)  your full, or nearly full, draft of article;

(2)  intended output (e.g. which journal);

(3)  your specific needs.

You can send in your requests anytime, and they will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

For more information, please read What is the MoLab Inventory by Biao Xiang, and visit our website.

All enquiries should be sent to

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