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Making a Difference?: Social Assessment Policy and Praxis and its Emergence in China

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Volume 6

Asia-Pacific Studies: Past and Present

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Making a Difference?

Social Assessment Policy and Praxis and its Emergence in China

Edited by Susanna Price and Kathryn Robinson

316 pages, 3 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-457-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-458-8 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…an excellent collection of essays and case studies offering both a critical and nuanced look at how projects are produced from a practitioner’s perspective. Contributing authors . . . reflect work within a development enterprise where economic determinism reigns supreme . . . With an emphasis on highlighting the lessons learned, this book is an engaging, educational, and provocative read.”  ·  Barbara Rose Johnston, Environment, Health and Human Rights, Center for Political Ecology


Social assessment for projects in China is an important emerging field. This collection of essays — from authors whose formative work has influenced the policies that shape practice in development-affected communities — locates recent Chinese experience of the development of social assessment practices (including in displacement and resettlement) in a historical and comparative perspective. Contributors — social scientists employed by international development banks, national government agencies, and sub-contracting groups — examine projects from a practitioner’s perspective. Real-life experiences are presented as case-specific praxis, theoretically informed insight, and pragmatic lessons-learned, grounded in the history of this field of development practice. They reflect on work where economic determinism reigns supreme, yet project failure or success often hinges upon sociopolitical and cultural factors.

Susanna Price is a Research Associate in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. She has pioneered strategies for social assessment, starting with AusAid, and was then recruited as a social development specialist, with a lead role in resettlement, by the Asian Development Bank. She is recognized internationally as an expert on social assessment in resettlement associated with major infrastructure projects. Publications include a special edited volume on resettlement in Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology (2009).

Kathryn Robinson is Professor in Anthropology at the Australian National University, in the School of Culture, History & Language, College of Asia and the Pacific; and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. She specializes in Anthropology, Economic Geography, International Relations, and Gender Specific Studies. Publications include Gender Islam and Democracy in Indonesia (2009) and Asian and Pacific Cosmopolitans: Self and Subject in Motion (2007). She also works as a development consultant in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Subject: Development Studies Anthropology (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction: Making Economic Growth Socially Sustainable?
Susanna Price


Introduction to Part One
Susanna Price

Chapter 1. Landmarks in Development: The Introduction of Social Analysis
Michael M. Cernea

Chapter 2. Social Science and the Mining Sector: Contemporary Roles and Dilemmas for Engagement
Deanna Kemp and John R. Owen

Chapter 3. Practicing Social Development: Navigating Local Contexts to Benefit Local Communities
Aaron Kyle Dennis and Gregory Eliyu Guldin

Chapter 4. Striving for Good Practice: Unpacking AusAID’s approach to Community Development
Kathryn Robinson and Andrew McWilliam

Chapter 5. Seeds of Life: Social Research for Improved Farmer Yields in East Timor
Andrew McWilliam, Modesto Lopes, Diana Glazebrook, Marcelino de Jesus da Costa, and Anita Ximenes


Introduction to Part Two
Susanna Price

Chapter 6. Social Assessment in the People’s Republic of China: Progress and Application in Domestic Development Projects
Li Kaimeng

Chapter 7. Turning Risks into Opportunities? Social Assessment as Governmental Technologies
Bettina Gransow (柯兰君)

Chapter 8. Participatory Monitoring of Development Projects in China
David Arthur and Jianliang Xiao (Elisa)

Chapter 9. How Social Assessment Could Improve Conservation Policy and Projects: Cases from Pastoral Management in China
Wang Xiaoyi

Chapter 10. Improving Social Impact Assessment and Participatory Planning to Identify and Manage Involuntary Resettlement Risks in the People’s Republic of China
Scott G. Ferguson and Wenlong Zhu

Chapter 11. Stakeholder Participation in Rural Land Acquisition in China: A Case Study of the Resettlement Decision-making Process
Yu Qingnian and Shi Guoqing

Susanna Price

Notes on Contributors

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