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“Wearing Research on Your Sleeves”: Participant Observation in a Cosplay Community

EasyChair Preprint no. 2358

3 pagesDate: January 10, 2020


A range of fan communities – developed around video games and pop-culture related properties  – now exist in interconnected physical and digital spaces of practice. Game streamers, reviewers, commentators and bloggers are creating professional careers in these intersecting digital and physical spaces - among them, are individuals working towards a "cosplay career". Aspiring cosplay practitioners create or purchase costumes, fashioned in the likeness of figures from video games or pop-culture, then work towards monetising their efforts through crowd-funding platforms or social media spaces. In exploration of these ideas, this paper analyses an approach to participant observation used to analyse the Australian Cosplay industry - in a study undertaken at Oz Comic Con (Melbourne, Australia) in 2019. The study involved engaging in cosplay activities - such as dressing up and attending conventions in-costume, with cosplayers - to immerse the researcher in the highly-physical practices that cosplayers undertake in pursuit of professionalisation.

Keyphrases: conventions, Cosplay, digital ethnography, digital game research association, game studies, information system, interaction design lab, participant observation

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Madeleine Antonellos and Bjorn Nansen and Martin Gibbs},
  title = {“Wearing Research on Your Sleeves”: Participant Observation in a Cosplay Community},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 2358},

  year = {EasyChair, 2020}}
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