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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 Eleven: Communicative Figurations of the Good Life: Ambivalences of the Mediatization of Homelessness and Transnational Migrant Families


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Communicative Figurations of the Good Life

Ambivalences of the Mediatization of Homelessness and Transnational Migrant Families


The concept of “mediatization” has been the focus of considerable debate and reflection for scholars in media and communication seeking to understand an increasingly media-related world (Couldry & Hepp, 2013; Hjarvard, 2013; Lundby, 2014). In theoretical work, mediatization is defined as transformations in media and communications that relate to social and cultural change as a societal meta-process akin to individualization, urbanization, and rationalization (Hepp, 2013a; Krotz, 2009). These reflections are increasingly complemented by empirical studies investigating transformations in institutions as well as social and cultural practices on different scales over varying historical periods. This includes the longue durée of human history, the consequences of media for modernity, and the more recent emergence of a mediated network society (Jensen, 2013; Livingstone, 2009; Livingstone & Lunt, 2014).

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