Gerardo Castillo, Managing Director of Societas Consulting will present a paper at the 33rd Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment to be held in Calgary, Canada on May 13th – 16th 2013.

The presentation discusses and proposes the use of a household and network analysis for a better comprehension of resource development transformations within local and regional populations.

There is no doubt that mining or hydrocarbon development leads to major social, economic, and cultural changes in resource regions; especially among rural populations. These changes could involve production and labor shifts, local inflation, migration, modification of residence patterns, social mobility, and changes in power relations, including gender dimensions.

For the understanding of these changes, the application of social impact assessment (SIA) is the standard tool. Though powerful, SIA also presents significant weaknesses.

As a complementary approach, household analysis provides manifold advantages: i) it departs from a company-centered and top-down approach to one that emphasizes the local perspective and highlights actors’ agency; ii) typically, SIA assigns positive or negative attributes to the impacts from an external perspective when changes are generally complex and ambivalent and depend on particular circumstances of the individuals and families; iii) although conventional SIA search for impacts over territories –following environmental frames of direct and indirect areas of influence— social changes affect people and networks more than geographical units; iv) using the household as unit of analysis allows the examination of the interrelation between individual and collective forces that shape social and economic decisions; and finally, iv) the focus on family networks allows to observe the complex intersection of different layers (gender, political, economic, social, cultural, etc.) interacting with agents at different scales (local, regional, national, or global).

The proposed methodology if part of the innovations and applied research made by Societas in order to provide better management systems for promoting sustainable social development in the extractive sector.