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Ways of Eating, Ways of Being: Food Consumption and Representation in Asian Markets

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Consumer Marketing

Deadline for submissions: 15 September, 2014

Guest Editors: Yuri Seo, Kim-Shyan Fam, and Angela Cruz

In its everyday immediacy and symbolic richness, food plays an important role in consumer lives and cultures. The complex and evolving practices surrounding food, which include dietary choices, material consumption practices and rituals, as well as more discursive and representational practices, constitute shared cultural „codes‟ (Douglas 1972) which do not only reflect but also shape wider cultural systems (Marshall 2005). In particular, over the past two decades, an emerging body of work in marketing has shown how consumers use food to anchor, express, and traverse cultural identities in a globalising world. Food has been variously used by consumers to provide comfort and negotiate cultural boundaries through cultural upheaval (Bardhi et al. 2010; Mehta and Belk 1991; Thompson and Tambyah 1999), as well as to signify ethnic tradition, intercultural adaptability, and class mobility (Askegaard et al. 2005; Üstüner and Holt 2007).

While food consumption and representation have been predominantly explored in the context of consumers in North America and Europe, this special issue focuses on food consumption and representation in the context of Asian markets, cultures, and consumers. It is of particular interest to explore how the meanings and practices of food consumption are related to Asian worldviews as well as socio-historical dynamics within Asian nations and overseas Asian populations. In addition, the representation and incorporation of food practices within Asian marketing practice is also an underexplored area of interest. For instance, by drawing on the metaphor of “using chopsticks for thinking”, Fam et al. (2009) have recently called attention to the values of Confucianism in developing harmonious business relationships in Asia. Given that food is often used as a marker and metaphor of identity, might Asian food consumption practices provide a useful allegory for a uniquely Asian way of marketing? What other ideas might food represent?

We seek contributions that explicate the relationships between food consumption practices, wider cultural meanings, and marketing practice in Asian contexts. In particular, we welcome contributions that cover one or more of the following areas:
• Food as a metaphor for marketing and other ideas or cultural constructs
• Conceptual, methodological, and historical frameworks which shape food consumption meanings and practices in Asia
• Market-specific typologies or cross-market comparisons of Asian food consumption practices
• Hybridisation of food consumption practices, e.g. within Asia, between Asia and the West
• The role of food consumption practices in shaping Asian consumer identities or intercultural mobility
• Representations of food within Asian media and marketing communications
• Marketing lessons derived from Asian food consumption practices
• Anti-consumption or non-consumption of food within Asian contexts, e.g. fasting, hunger, culture-specific food taboos

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts should be submitted via JCM Scholarone website using the following link: At the 'please select the type of issue' (Details & Comments step) please highlight “Ways of Eating, Ways of Being: Food Consumption and Representation in Asian Markets” in the dropdown list.

Any inquiries about this special issue should be sent electronically to special issue co-editors, Dr Yuri Seo at [email protected],  Professor Kim-Shyan Fam at [email protected], and Angela Cruz at [email protected]


Askegaard, S., Arnould, E. J., & Kjeldgaard, D. (2005). Postassimilationist Ethnic Consumer Research: Qualifications and Extensions. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(June), 160-170.
Bardhi, F., Ostberg, J., & Bengtsson, A. (2010). Negotiating Cultural Boundaries: Food, Travel and Consumer Identities. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 13(2), 133-157.
Brewis, J., & Jack, G. (2005). Pushing Speed? The Marketing of Fast and Convenience Food. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 8(1), 49-67.
Douglas, Mary (1972), “Deciphering a Meal,” Daedalus, 101 (Winter), 61–81.
Eckhardt, G., & Dholakia, N. (2013). Addressing the Mega Imbalance: Interpretive Exploration of Asia. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 16(1), 4-11.
Fam, K. S., Yang, Z. and Hyman, M. (2009), “Confucian/Chopsticks Marketing”, Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 393-397.
Marshall, D. (2005). Food as Ritual, Routine or Convention. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 8(1), 69-85.
Mehta, R., & Belk, R. W. (1991). Artifacts, Identity, and Transition: Favorite Possessions of Indians and Indian Immigrants to the United States. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(March), 398-411.
Thompson, C. J., & Tambyah, S. K. (1999). Trying To Be Cosmopolitan. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(December), 214-241.
Üstüner, T., & Holt, D. B. (2007). Dominated Consumer Acculturation: The Social Construction of Poor Migrant Women's Consumer Identity in a Turkish Squatter. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(June), 41-56.