Participation by being: Teenage girls’ hanging out at the shopping mall as ‘dwelling with’ [the world]


Hanging out is a playful event of different rhythm, improvisation and experiment.
Hanging out provides a momentary way out from the seriousness of adult life.
Playfulness can produce engagement with spaces and cultivate enchantment.
While hanging out, girls mark and claim spaces through playful acts of building.
Hanging out is participation [in the world] by ‘actively doing nothing’.


In this paper, I talk about young teenage girls’ hanging out at the shopping mall. I approach hanging out as ‘dwelling with’ commercial spaces by thinking of it as 1) a meaningful practical engagement, and as 2) marking and claiming spaces as one’s own. Hanging out with friends often goes on without much reflection, but it is deeply affectual. Because hanging out is wonderfully purposeless, space is cleared for the inspiring mood of enchantment. This receptivity can make ‘dwelling with’ possible. Hanging out can be conceptualized as playful being-in-the-world that allows for improvisations with one’s surroundings in movement: an event of different rhythm, openness and experiment. By drifting at the mall, ‘actively doing nothing’, girls are open to the new and surprising. Therefore, hanging out can provide a momentary way out from the seriousness of adult life and make space for enchantment. A micro-atmosphere of play is produced when girls engage with the commercial space and artifacts. A kind of counter-politics of affect actuates from the intra-active play between girls and the things that matter to them. While hanging out, girls make temporary ‘hangout homes’ for themselves, and acquire situated rights to spaces by dwelling with them.


Noora Pyyry

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