Invitation to Participate

Invitation to Participate

Invitation to Participate


The MoLab Inventory documents ongoing changes in human mobility, and explores new lines of enquiry about socioeconomic transformation 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..


We warmly invite you to participate as:


  • entry authors  who contribute individual entries;
  • guest curators who assemble a series of entries to develop a specific theme;
  • workshop organizers, who establish a space for authors collectively to develop materials in the Inventory into larger ideas;
  • users, who develop materials in the Inventory into systematic arguments in more substantial publications .


Entry Author

You may contribute individual entries under an existing theme.

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 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. We also encourage authors to cite existing MoLab entries.

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

There are no deadlines for submissions: entries may be submitted at any time. Please formulate your manuscript according to the Style Guidelines and send it to


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. In addition to editorial and administrative support we offer financial support for each theme to cover costs associated with curating and editing contributions.


If interested, please send us:


(1) a brief statement, of not more than 500 words, that explains what the subtheme is about, how it could lead to new lines of enquiry into socioeconomic change through the lens of mobility, including possible entry topics;

(2) one or more entry, if you have not already contributed an entry on your proposed theme;

(3) your CV, including publications.

There are no deadlines for submissions You may send your proposal to at any time. Proposals will be reviewed four times a year, respectively at the end of January, April, July and October. 


Workshop Organiser

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


Potential workshop organisers should send us:


  1.  a statement of the central theme of the workshop (no more than 500 words). The main research question or subject matter need not be one already 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. These should include both MoLab entries and more substantial publications;
  4.  anticipated participants (names, institutional affiliations, expertise);
  5.  total budget and the financial support required;
  6.  your CV, including publications.


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 12 months before the workshop to



We are happy to provide support for those of our contributors 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 on MoLab, please use the links on this webpage. We recommend particularly that potential contributors read What is the MoLab Inventory by Biao Xiang.


All enquiries should be sent to

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