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Netflix, imagined affordances, and the illusion of control

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This study uses various conceptual definitions of control as an analytical lens to explore the Netflix platform. We experiment with various questions of control to examine how control is enacted on Netflix, how it is embedded in different interface elements, and how it influences our experiences with and through the platform. Our analysis highlights how control on Netflix is never situated within a single entity. Instead, it is distributed and continuously reproduced in the process of interaction between different human and nonhuman entities within the sociotechnical Netflix experience. Ultimately, this study champions the idea of control as a sensemaking device, which can be used to analyze complex interaction processes in heavily-mediated environments, allowing us to continue past the now typical stopping point of saying infrastructures are simply entangled. It is a particular thread in the tangle we can pull on, to examine what’s going on, rhetorically or ideologically, within or because of the routines created through our everyday uses of platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetflix at the Nexus : content, practice, and production in the age of streaming television
EditorsTheo Plothe, Amber M. Buck
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication year29 Nov 2019
Pages29-46
Chapter2
ISBN (print)978-1-4331-6186-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4331-6188-9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019

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