Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Performing Middle Class and Teenage Identities at the Mall: Evidence from Chile


Sociology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Social and Behavioral Sciences


Most scholarship on teenagers in malls focuses on shopping or conflicts with mall authorities. This study uses ethnographic and interview data to examine middle class teens interpretive work in malls in Santiago, Chile. Secondary data, as well as our own research, shows us that malls are not the most important teen hangout, and Santiago’s malls are socioeconomically diverse. Lower middle-class teens distance themselves from the poor through impression management(Goffman 1959), conduct class performances to avoid stigma (Jackson 2001), interpret othersbehaviors in class terms, and assert autonomy from adults in malls (Zukin 2004). Malls are a crucial site for teen identity construction and boundary work.

Conference Name

American Sociological Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

Denver, CO

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