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Practising conviviality: social uses of ethnic cuisine in an Asian multicultural environment

Katayoun Zafari (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Gareth Allison (Department of Business, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Catherine Demangeot (Department of Marketing and Negotiation, IESEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS), Paris, France)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 9 November 2015




This paper aims to understand the social dynamics surrounding the consumption of non-native, ethnic cuisines in the multicultural context of an Asian city.


Data were collected via in-depth interviews with 21 culturally diverse residents of Dubai. Data were analysed inductively, leading to the emergence of three themes characterising social dynamics underpinning the consumption of non-native cuisines in an Asian multicultural environment.


Three types of social dynamics were identified: instrumental uses, expressive uses and conviviality considerations.

Research limitations/implications

The study suggests that the different types of cultural dynamics at play have different roles; some act as influencing or constraining factors in the everyday practice of multicultural consumption, whereas others are used more proactively as enablers.


This paper contributes to the authors’ understanding of how people “practice conviviality” in multicultural marketplaces, providing insights into the complex social dynamics, underpinning the consumption of non-native cuisines in multicultural marketplaces. Although the consumer literature on food and cuisines has acknowledged the social influences surrounding cuisines and food consumption, these have typically been viewed in a single block. This study shows the importance of conviviality considerations in non-native cuisine consumption. Further, the paper shows that the consumption of non-native cuisines is an everyday practice in a multicultural context, which is used with varying degrees of proactiveness for social lubrication and multicultural socialisation.



Zafari, K., Allison, G. and Demangeot, C. (2015), "Practising conviviality: social uses of ethnic cuisine in an Asian multicultural environment", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 564-575.



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