This article investigates what partying means to Danish adolescents aged 14-16. A new theoretical approach to teenage partying is suggested. It combines the structural anthropological tradition of analysing partying and use of alcohol as a rite de passage with a phenomenological perspective which situates the event in everyday life. By drawing on Maffesoli's (1996) concept of ‘sociality' and Lincoln's (2005) concept of zoning the spatial and social logic of the house, partying is analysed using both qualitative and quantitative material. The analysis suggests that the consumption of alcohol (i.e. collective intoxication) is one way the parents' dining room is transformed creatively into a space for teenage partying. Hence, the social logic of a party is to consume alcohol collectively as it symbolises commitment to both the party and to the specific group of friends. Finally, attention is drawn to how parties are attractive, not just because of the possibility of experimenting with alcohol, but because they are a way to extend the network of friends. These fragile friendships can be seen as a fluid sociality which constantly demands attention and reassurance. Partying is, then, also a way to reaffirm friendship and is therefore an integrated part of adolescents' everyday life.
Journal of Youth Studies, 2007, Vol 10, Issue 5, p. 517-537