Edited By Hua Wang
This volume illuminates the complexity of our modern era, exploring how society can leverage exciting new opportunities whilst recognizing the complex challenges we face in a time of constant change. It helps us understand how we have come to this point and where we may be going so that we may study the opportunities and the dangers, the chances and the risks, that digital media pose in our quest for some version of «the good life».
Chapter Three: Eudaimonia: Mobile Communication and Social Flourishing
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Mobile Communication and Social Flourishing
RICH LINGNANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY, SINGAPORE
The ancient Greek concept of eudaimonia is translated as well-being, flourishing, or “the good life.” It is the pursuit of satisfaction that goes beyond the hedonic physical pleasure of an individual. It is the use of self-discipline and prudence to achieve satisfaction that comes from practicing virtues and doing what is worth doing. Can this concept help us understand how mobile communication affects the lives of people and the structure of the societies they live in? Does the mobile phone help people flourish, or not? Does it bring broader moral issues into focus? Further, does this concept provide us, as researchers, a different lens to consider these issues?
To answer the first set of questions, there are undeniably positive effects of mobile communication for users around the world. It has been widely adopted and people feel that it makes a contribution to their lives. At the same time, the mobile phone exposes uncomfortable problems and issues. It causes stress; it is expensive; it jeopardizes our privacy; and it can threaten our sense of propriety. To be sure, the mobile phone is a two-edged sword. To answer the second question, eudemonia provides researchers with a useful perspective for examining the social consequences of mobile communication.
In this chapter, I draw examples around the globe to examine the adoption and use of mobile telephony. I...
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