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Communication and «The Good Life»


Hua Wang

What is a «good life» and how can it be achieved? In this volume, communication scholars and media experts explore these fundamental questions about human existence and aspiration in terms of what a «good life» might look like in a contemporary, mediatized society. While in many ways a mediatized society brings us closer to some version of the «good life», it also leads us away from it. The affordances of new technologies seem to have shifted, for many, from an opportunity to an obligation. Rather than choosing when and where to be connected to these larger networks of information and acquaintances, we feel we must be permanently available, thus losing the luxury of controlling our time and attention.
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».
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Chapter Three: Eudaimonia: Mobile Communication and Social Flourishing


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Mobile Communication and Social Flourishing


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?

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