Netflix, Imagined Affordances, and the Illusion of Control


We recently submitted our final draft of a forthcoming article in the Netflix at the Nexus collection edited by Amber Buck and Theo Plothe. Please contact one of the authors for final citation details, or cite as: Markham, A., Stavrova, S., & Schleuter, M. (2018). Netflix, imagined affordances, and the illusion of control. Manuscript in progress.

In this article, we uses various conceptual definitions of control as an analytical lens to explore the Netflix platform. We experiment with various questions of control to examine imagined and actual affordances. We look at how control is embedded in different interface elements and how it influences not only our experiences, but our sense of self. Our analysis highlights how control on Netflix is never situated within a single entity, but distributed and continuously reproduced in the process of interaction between different human and nonhuman entities within the sociotechnical Netflix experience. This case analysis helps us push 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.