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Title: Cosplay : an ethnographic study of subculture and escape
Author: Mason-Bertrand, Adele
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 4563
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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My PhD research is the first longitudinal, empirically grounded study of cosplay, a nuanced and complex subculture, whose members emulate characters from geek media using striking costumes. Through immersive ethnography, I became a full member of this subculture, charting this process to make a methodological contribution. My participation in cosplay and interactions with hundreds of cosplayers revealed that acceptance is core to cosplay's subcultural identity, being used to manage cosplay's boundaries in response to a sudden membership increase. My thesis demonstrates how subcultures adjust to rapid change, upholding subcultural values through codification, policing and isolation. Furthermore, cosplay is shown to provide members with perceived escape from intolerances surrounding sex; gender; ethnicity; mental health and social disorders. These areas were explored employing the framework of 'escape attempts, which argues that individuals use techniques to escape to 'free areas' that are distinct from everyday life. The study tested escape attempts empirically and applied it to theory for the first time. Findings revealed that cosplayers take values from everyday life to form their norms, influencing the success of escape, concluding that everyday life and escape are more intertwined than previously thought.
Supervisor: Clark, Tom ; Dennis, Alex Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available