Marketing of belief: Intertextual construction of network marketers' identities

Kenneth C C Kong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Network marketing, as an enterprise 'using' friendship to promote products, has been notorious for its exploitative use of interpersonal meaning. This study examines how identities are textually transgressed and manipulated in network marketing discourse, a nexus of business, interpersonal, and institutional relationships. Using Halliday's systemic-functional framework, a comparison of five director's messages, three from network marketing organizations, one from an ordinary business enterprise, and one from a voluntary social organization shows that network marketing texts are constructed intertextually and dialogically in sophisticated ways. It is argued that network marketing organizations (NMOs) do not simply sell their products; they also attempt to reconstruct their sales agents' identities to the advantage of their business operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-503
Number of pages31
JournalDiscourse and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Identity
  • Intertextuality
  • Network marketing


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