Sweet NothingOn the virtues of hanging out.

Sweet NothingOn the virtues of hanging out.

  • Words Nathan Ma
  • Photograph Christian Møller Andersen

Some people try to program productivity into their downtime, engineering their social lives for constant stimulation. But in Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time, literary scholar Sheila Liming argues that we can gain so much more from just, well, hanging out.

In Liming’s eyes, hanging out happens when we refuse to be productive in any economic sense. It’s about making both the space and the time to bask in this nothingness. With references ranging from the work of philosopher Walter Benjamin to the Industrial Workers of the World to the Food Network, Liming seeks to understand when exactly we gave up our downtime and what we lost in doing so.  

Nathan Ma: What first got you thinking about hanging out as a phenomenon worthy of serious study? 

Sheila Liming: My entry poin...

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