Vinzenz Hediger, Matthias Krings & Cornelia Storz (eds.) (forthcoming 2024). Dis/Ordering Distribution: Thinking about the Productive Force of Infrastructures, Formats and Regulations, Special Issue in: Research on the Sociology of Organisations. Emerald Publishing.
Distribution, often overlooked as the mundane aspect of value chains, is revealed as the linchpin of market control by economic historian Douglas Gomery. Hollywood studios, functioning as distributors, shape global film markets before production. In the digital age, distribution becomes a productive force, creating spaces of circulation and experiences. Beyond traditional sender-receiver models, it orders knowledge in space and produces “lived spaces.” Formats and infrastructures play critical roles, standardizing materials and minimizing friction in interactions. This intersection of infrastructures, formats, and regulations is key to cultural production’s dynamics. Culture, once tied to physical locations and linguistic homogeneity, is now understood through global flows, reshaping the concept of culture itself. This volume explores distribution’s multifaceted nature and its role as a productive force in cultural meaning, highlighting a shift from isolated objects to the mobilization of forms, ideas, goods, and people in cultural analysis.