‘Home is where your Netflix is’ – From Mobile Privatization to Private Mobilization

Barbara Maly-Bowie


The article unpacks the implications the development of the streaming service Netflix has for the relation between home and media. To this end, it reframes Raymond Williams’ notion of mobile privatization, first coined in his book Television: Technology and Cultural Form (1974) in terms of private mobilization. In the following, I will analyse promotional materials and ask how Netflix mobilizes home in three ways. First, Netflix seeks both to upset and reclaim the intricate relationship between the domestic, mobility and television. Secondly, I will highlight instances where Netflix thereby promises a feeling of belonging through linking personalization to diversity and social change, thus mobilizing home as a narrative resource for storytelling about social inclusion. Thirdly, I want to problematize how Netflix’s aim to evoke a homely feeling of belonging is also a central element of a neoliberal market that can be characterized by mobile privatization. Netflix therefore negotiates home as a location of media consumption, a space of belonging and a resource for both powerful storytelling and data-driven commercialization. Revisiting Raymond Williams makes it possible to trace the spatio-temporal dynamics of Netflix as a contemporary cultural form and its socio-cultural ramifications.


mobile privatization; Raymond Williams; home; mobilization; television; Netflix

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