Marketing to Liminal Consumers: Migrant Workers as an Emerging Segment in Transitional Economies

Rongwei Chu, Jie G. Fowler, James W. Gentry, Xin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Though most acculturation research investigates movement across national boundaries, many other types of boundaries may exist (e.g. rural to urban migration). Rural migrant workers focus on their adaptive and exploratory consumption practices to assemble a liquid identity in China. In essence, this research examines the nature of the transitions that the vast group of Chinese (over 280 million) endures as migrant workers seek to assemble new identities through consumption activities in a liminal space. We find that family relations and government policy hinder migrants’ adjustments to urban life. Thus, we contribute to macromarketing by enriching the theories of liquid identity, boundary work, and acculturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-458
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018



  • acculturation
  • boundary work
  • liminality
  • migrant workers
  • rural-urban migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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