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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: November 2020

7 - Embodied Transmedia and Paratextual-Spatio Play : Consuming, Collecting and Costuming Theme Park Merchandise

Summary

Abstract

This chapter explores how hierarchies of cultural value operate in relation to theme park merchandise through the example of Disney pin-trading which allows fans to display their fan identities (e.g. preference for certain characters, attractions, or hotels) or presence at particular events (via the acquisition of limited edition event pins). It also explores how theme park fans display their fandom on their bodies via clothing and subversive forms of costuming known as DisneyBounding. The link between clothing and specific sites within the park allows fans to engage in forms of ‘embodied transmedia extension’ since fans can engage in ludic imaginative spaces. The chapter acknowledges how theme park fans enter into acts of commercial exchange whilst also operating their own hierarchies regarding acts of consumption.

Key words: paratextual-spatio play, cosplay, DisneyBounding, embodied transmedia, fan fashion, material culture

Introduction

One of the key activities undertaken by theme park fans is the purchase and collection of merchandise. As a brand Disney has long been seen to demonstrate ‘a careful integration of entertainment and fun with commodification and consumption’ (Wasko 2001, p. 158) and Universal Studios has certainly followed this pattern with huge profits made from its in-park merchandising of key properties such as Shrek, Despicable Me, SpongeBob SquarePants, Jurassic Park and, via the opening of The Wizarding World

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