The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment
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The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

Conceptual and Methodological Advances

Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay

This important Handbook presents an indispensable overview of the range of new methods and of the conceptual advances in Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Recent increased attention to social considerations has led to substantial development in the techniques useful to, and the thinking in, SIA. A distinguished group of contributors provides an up-to-date and comprehensive account of the cutting-edge in SIA development.
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Chapter 6: Conceptualizing Social Change Processes and Social Impacts

Marlies van Schooten, Frank Vanclay and Roel Slootweg


Marlies van Schooten, Frank Vanclay and Roel Slootweg Introduction The authors were involved in the development of a decision support system (DSS) to help development agency staff determine when impact assessment was required in development cooperation projects. They were required to specify a comprehensive listing of social impacts for inclusion in the DSS. Initially, a set of variables was to be compiled through a meta-analysis of previously published lists of social impact variables. However, a high degree of inconsistency between such lists, and internal inconsistency in many of the lists, meant that a systematic reconsideration of the nature of social impacts was called for. This chapter, which builds on Chapter 5, discusses a new understanding of social change processes and social impacts, as well as a listing of processes and impacts which were developed using the function evaluation framework for integrating social (SIA) and environmental (EIA) impact assessment as elaborated by Slootweg et al. (2001). It is our view that, while there has been an attempt at completeness, the impacts listed are quite likely to exhibit our prejudices and biases. Colleagues from other cultures and economic settings may well classify impacts differently. Existing social impact variable lists Many publications provide a generic classification of the types of social issues that should be considered in SIA. A small number of publications include lists of social impacts. In these publications, social impacts can refer to quantifiable variables such as numbers of immigrants (newcomers), but can also refer to qualitative...

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