Themes Overview

Initially concentrating on multiple mobilities within and from Africa, the MGL works through a series of inter-connected research themes. It positions human mobility as a heuristic providing insights into practical workings and transformations of regulatory and governance systems.

Scales of Mobility Governance



Engagement & Mobilization


Mobility &

1. Scales of mobility governance:

The regulation of movement and immobility constitutes and transforms socio- political modes of territorialisation. This work draws considers strategies to fix or mobilise populations in or across space and time. Along with regional or global strategies and compacts, it explores municipal, social, and diasporic regulation.

2. Inscribing the self and others:

Mobilities are shaped by and transform understandings of self and others. Through crowd sourced quantitative analysis, surveys, and ethnographic exploration, it explores the social, legal, and epistemological construction of people, places, and processes of socio-political transformation. Included here are questions of xenophobia, transforming gender roles and regulations; and consideration of race, class, ethnicity, and legal status.

3. Emerging urban:

International and domestic mobility contribute to the remaking of cities across the world while urban spaces increasingly shape archipelagic and diasporic connections globally. These configurations produce novel forms of circulation, margins, and strategies for personal and collective action.

4. Mobility and production:

Shifting supply and labour chains are reshaping the meaning of work, home, family, and future. Unpredictability, precarity and exploitation are paired with opportunities for advancement, social reconstruction, and recognition. Informal and formal regulation of production engenders dynamics social forms, imagination, and possibility.

5. Knowledge generation:

The political economy of knowledge and expertise on human mobility determines scholarly opportunity and influence while informing contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia, legal reform, and security.

6. Engagement & mobilization:

Organization, representation, exclusion and solidarity shape mobility forms and outcomes. The engagements of multiple actors – including migrants – in families, communities, polities and global processes inform self-understanding and enable intervention and political action.