Boundary interweaving: the boundary-making strategy for multicultural coexistence in marketing systems

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Multicultural interactions bring individuals from varied cultural backgrounds together, leading to situations that either foster or impede social cohesion. This issue is critical as social cohesion significantly influences quality-of-life (QOL), which, together with marketing systems, forms the core of macromarketing. Our research contributes by introducing “boundary interweaving” – a novel concept in boundary-making strategy that aims to improve QOL and cultural well-being within marketing systems. Boundary interweaving is a process wherein two or more cultural boundaries interweave together to create a new, unique cultural boundary. Integrating marketing systems and boundary-making theories, this study on ethnic minority marketing shifts from the traditional single-level focus to explore multi-level interactions among market actors. Employing discourse analysis of a documentary and news articles, particularly focusing on food narratives from wet markets and adjacent hawker stalls, we examine interactions between market actors consisting of government, politicians, mass media, sellers, and consumers. Our findings reveal that interactions among market actors exemplify boundary interweaving within the realms of space, language, and foodways. Rather than delineating us and them among different ethnic groups, this paper demonstrates that joint efforts by market actors across macro-, meso-, and microlevels can facilitate the integration, social inclusion and coexistence of diverse ethnic cultures within the marketing system. Boundary interweaving fosters cultural well-being, promotes a sense of belonging and facilitates social cohesion among different ethnic groups. This study highlights the influence of culture on the functioning, growth, and evolution of a marketing system.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • boundary making
  • cultural well-being
  • food culture
  • language
  • Malaysian Chinese identity
  • marketing systems
  • multicultural marketing
  • social cohesion
  • space
  • wet market

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