In this undergraduate thesis, I explore the relationship between politics and popular culture through an ethnography of Justice League Arizona, a cosplay ensemble devoted to costumed civic activism. While existing scholarship addresses cosplay ensembles and political theory, there is very little that examines how the act of cosplay can be a form of politics and what the impact of that interpretation has on both individuals and the community at large. Through both participant observation and interviews with members of the ensemble, I discovered that cosplay has the ability to intensify aspects of the self, the ability to expose new aspects of the self, and the ability to bring one closer to a particular character. I also found cosplay to be political through the sensibility and situated knowledge that proves to be in practice during cosplay, ultimately having the power to be used as a form of political resistance.
- Real Life Superheroes: An Ethnographic Exploration Behind Cosplay and Politics
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