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Cosplay - Creating or playing identities?: An analysis of the role of cosplay in the minds of its fans
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK).
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the concept of cosplay by critically engaging earlier theories that have claimed cosplay to be a form of escapism for fans of Japanese manga and animé. Theories have so far been concerned mainly with identifying cosplay as a type of theatre. By interviewing active cosplayers in focus groups, this thesis instead focuses on the ways in which cosplay functions as an arena for identity-creation. By looking at theories of identity, the thesis has analysed how identity is created, not by an individual, but in a reciprocal relationship with social groups. Cosplay is an element around which social groupings are built and through complex social structuring identity is created by attaching one self to the group. The group is structured by the amount of symbolic capital each member possesses, which is to say that knowledge about the stories within the group, and social relationships are determining the structure of the group. By looking at the structure of the group, we are able to gain insight into the question of cosplay as an object for identity-creation, and by looking at the interactions in the focus groups we are furthermore able to actively analyse the distribution of capital. This thesis thus asserts that cosplay does not function as a simple form of escapism that allows for cosplayer to escape their mundane lives, but that it is instead an important field for the creation of identity for the fans of manga and cosplay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 97 p.
Keyword [en]
manga, cosplay, identity, interaction, escapism, trust, cultural capital, social capital
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-59048OAI: diva2:424833
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-07-25 Created: 2011-06-20 Last updated: 2011-07-25Bibliographically approved

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