A virtual paradise: Instagram and the production of nature on Palawan Island, the Philippines
AffiliationSchool of Geography
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2020 Naomi Parris-Piper
Much scholarly work has critically engaged with the adoption of ecotourism as an ostensive ‘sustainable development’ strategy for coastal spaces across Southeast Asia, highlighting how coastal dwellers are often marginalised and excluded by new representations and investments for mass tourism (Fabinyi 2018; Fletcher 2011). Less is known however, about the role of social media platforms in the making of coastal ecotourism destinations and how the proliferation of exoticized and idealised representations of coastal places and people contribute to shifting dynamics of access and control in coastal regions. To address this gap, this thesis joins an emerging conversation in political ecology that connects virtual representations of places and people disseminated online to tangible social and material changes. Drawing on a case study of El Nido—a coastal municipality of Palawan island, the Philippines—it examines how social media representations of coastal places and people have influenced the rise and changing character of ecotourism. Through critical discourse analysis and key informant interviews, it presents a narrative of the rise of ecotourism in El Nido as it intersects with coastal governance policies, investments and the social media activity of governance actors, service providers and tourists. It finds that social media platforms facilitate interactions that contribute to the intensification and acceleration of ongoing processes of coastal change through and for ecotourism with a range of negative social and environmental impacts. Social media incorporates new actors such as ‘Instagram influencers’ and platform algorithms into coastal political economies in ways that influence and govern how users of these platforms imagine and consume coastal places and people.
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References