Eudaimonic Growth: How Virtues and Motives Shape the Narrative Self and Its Development within a Social Ecology

Abstract

This transdisciplinary study will examine how the narration of self, motivation, and eudaimonic virtues like wisdom and compassion develop within a social ecology of family master narratives and social institutions that either foster or constrain the development of such virtues. Drawing from a larger, longitudinal study of character development and life stories in adulthood, we will interview individuals and their families about virtue-relevant events in life, such as conflicts of belief, virtue-focused projects and activities, and self- and family-defining memories. Narratives will be analyzed qualitatively and critically as well as quantitatively and in relation to other measures of eudaimonic and personal development. We expect that specific virtues will serve as motivational themes in personal and family stories and that these narrative themes will predict specific paths of virtuous self-development. We further expect that specific inequalities in family and social-institutional contexts will correspond to specific conflicts in the development of eudaimonic qualities in individuals’ lives.

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Peggy DesAutels
University of Dayton

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