Pasoot Lasuka (PhD) is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University.


The Narratives of Underwater Experience with Whale Sharks in Social Media Groups and the Issue of Climate Change Ignorance

Abstract: This paper examines the narratives of underwater experiences shared by Thai free divers in their social media groups. The focus of the research is on the media representation of whale sharks, a prominent subject in marine tourism, and the free-diving tourists who swim underwater to capture photos and videos with these creatures. Initially, the researcher hypothesized that these media representations would build on ongoing conversation in such a way that the images of animal and environmental landscapes on social media could reinforce the commodification of nature for economic gains in the Capitalocene. However, drawing upon analyses of textual evidence within social media groups and direct observations at renowned marine tourist destinations, the study revealed a nuanced perspective that goes beyond the mere identification of the practice. This paper argues that the intricate narratives of free divers, by attempting to make the underwater experiences unique and beautiful in the online social space, may inadvertently contribute to what is termed as “the reflexive ignorance of climate change.” The term denotes the systematic cultural operation that results in deliberately singling out a set of knowledge, climate change in this case, so that a certain economic positive outcome can be achieved. The narrative construction of unique and mystical underwater experiences with whale sharks can be seen as fostering ignorance.
Keywords: climate change, social media, diving, blue humanities, blue media