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.