Box-set mind-set: Psycho-cultural approaches to binge watching, gender, and digital experience

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Debates about binge watching in the era of internet television largely fail to address the important psychological dimensions of experience for viewers who watch in this way. The notion of ‘bingeing’ is entwined with ideas about greed and loss, themes that shape both the narratives of television dramas such as Breaking Bad (AMC) and Mad Men (AMC), and new patterns of viewing behaviours. Drawing on a diverse range of theorists, I argue that object relations psychoanalysis enables new understandings of processes at work in both narrative and viewing practices, providing insight into both psychological and aesthetic experience. Extrapolating from this, I also present a psycho-cultural analysis of the psychodynamics of binge watching, showing how it is closely bound up with shifting patterns of ideology, gender politics, and digital experience.

© 2019, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Original languageEnglish
JournalFree Associations: Psychoanalysis and Culture, Media, Groups, Politics
Issue number75
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019


  • Binge-watching
  • Greed
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Gender politics
  • Media objects
  • Television

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