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Social impact assessment monitoring the Huntly monitoring project in retrospect

The emerging field of Social Impact Assessment Monitoring is critically examined through a review of the Huntly Monitoring Project (HMP). A summary of the HMP, which is both reflexive and critical, identifies practical issues and criticisms arising from that research experience, as well as describing its research method and results. Criticisms of the application of Positivism to Social Science published during the six years of the HMP provide a framework for an SIA Monitoring critique. Alternative philosophical and theoretical positions advanced by Albrow, Giddens, Hagerstrand and Pred are examined. Ideas pertinent to SIA Monitoring are brought together in a discussion of Albrow’s Dialectical Paradigm, Giddens’ Theory of Action, and Hagerstrand’s Time-Geography. The implications for SIA Monitoring of two opposing philosophical positions within Social Science are examined through a comparison of eight SIA Monitoring options, with only three found to be compatible with the non-positivistic position. SIA Monitoring as a Study of Structuration is one of these three options, and a coherent methodology is provided for it by Time-Geography. Finally, it is concluded that designing another Huntly Monitoring Project to include non-positivistic ideas is possible but politically difficult.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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