Playing outside the box
: cosplay, fandom creativity, and transformative media engagement

  • Orion Mavridou

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Cosplay, a portmanteau of costume and play, represents an increasingly visible expression of contemporary media fandom. Its multifaceted practice revolves around recreating the appearance of fictional characters in costume. This interdisciplinary project offers a thorough examination of the subject from three separate methodological angles. Practice research, archive research, and qualitative interviews were employed in tandem, shedding light into different aspects of cosplay through the accounts of self-identifying cosplayers. The focus of the research was placed on the motivations and rewards of cosplay practitioners, the process by which cosplay is conducted, as well as its experiential and ludic dimensions. The nuanced results of these three branches of inquiry were synthesised into a single theoretical model, which offers a fundamental conceptualisation of the practice as a unique form of simulacra creation; one that is largely defined by its utilisation of semantic code and the presence of the cosplayer’s body.
Date of AwardOct 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorRobin J. S. Sloan (Supervisor) & Stefano De Paoli (Supervisor)

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