Many years of work have finally paid off, and my research project co-authored with Henri Weijo has been officially published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The research was done in the context of cosplay and focuses on themes of ludic experiences, communal experiences, and how individuals negotiate these in the face of various emotional, material, temporal, and competence-related complications.
Play at Any Cost: How Cosplayers Produce and Sustain Their Ludic Communal Consumption Experiences
Communal consumption is often described as inherently playful, with previous research mainly focusing on successful ludic communal experiences, and largely disregarding its potential pitfalls. Moreover, the marketer is usually seen as the primary facilitator of ludic experiences, which has marginalized the role of the consumer. This article explores how consumers produce and sustain ludic consumption community experiences in the face of growing instrumental costs. It assumes a practice theory lens, and is based on an ethnographic inquiry into cosplay, which is a time and resource intensive form of pop culture masquerade and craft consumption. Prolonged engagement in the cosplay community leads to growing emotional, material, temporal, and competence-related costs, which hinder playful experiences. Consumers practice modularization, reinforcement, and collaboration to overcome these costs and maintain the important ludic sensations that motivate communal engagements.