The unacceptable flaneur the shopping mall as a teenage hangout

Hugh Matthews, Mark Taylor, Barry Percy-Smith, Melanie Limb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers the importance of the shopping mall to a group of young people living in the East Midlands of the UK. It shows that for many young people the mall provides a convenient place for hanging out. Yet their occupancy of this setting is not unproblematic. Many adults, for example, perceive the public and visible presence of young people as uncomfortable and inappropriate. Despite constant attempts to move them on, however, young people stubbornly remain within the mall asserting a right of presence. In order to (re)interpret these behaviours (both that of teenager and adult), the study draws upon the new literature of the cultural politics of difference and identity. It suggests that through their various attempts to assert a right of presence, young people assume the mantle of the hybrid. Here, young people are no longer child, nor quite adult. By locating themselves in settings that transgress and so question the spatial hegemony of adulthood, young people journey into the interstitial territory of 'thirdspace'. From this perspective the mall assumes a cultural importance over and above its functional form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-294
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


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