Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Frank Vanclay and Ana Maria Esteves
Janette Hartz-Karp and Jenny Pope Introduction Historically, there has been a divide between social impact assessment (SIA) theorists and practitioners as to whether SIA is most effectively accomplished by technocrats or through a participatory approach with the impacted community. More recently, there is a tendency to accept a model that integrates these two approaches (Pisani and Sandham, 2006; Lockie et al., 2008). However, exactly how this integration could be achieved to maximize the potential for effective outcomes remains a significant challenge (Petts, 2003). Moreover, there are those who argue that such an approach is still too narrow, leaving SIA as peripheral to, rather than integrated with, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and that it does not adequately address traditional power inequities (O’Faircheallaigh, 2010). This chapter suggests that to improve sustainability, the SIA needs to be integrated with other forms of impact assessment and collaboration needs to be inclusive of the broader community in a more equal power relationship with the decision makers. However, to achieve this would involve a significant departure from typical impact assessments and ‘business as usual’ community engagement. It requires a paradigm shift towards integrated management of impacts and social processes, and towards collaborative governance. We propose that this can be achieved through the application of the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. Deliberative democracy Deliberative democracy is ‘decision-making by discussion among free and equal citizens’ (Elster, 1998, p. 1). Participants mirroring the population deliberate in an environment of trust, equity and mutual understanding, overcoming their differences to...