Presentation to FacultyUniversity of Detroit Based Upon: “Human Needs: An Annotated Bibliography,” Submitted May 2009 to Oxford Bibliography Online, Prof. Edward Mullen, Editor
Human Needs and Social Work The Preamble of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers states: “The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.”
Human Needs and Social Work Nevertheless, social work has long had an ambivalent outlook on how central human needs concepts should be for our profession’s mission and goals. For instance, the Encyclopedia of Social Work didn’t contain an entry on human needs until the 20th edition (Dover and Joseph, 2008). Also, not until the current version did the Code of Ethics utilize the concept of human needs (National Association of Social Workers, 1999).
Human Needs and Social Work As a result,there is a scarcity of literature coming from within the profession of social work that addresses human needs explicitly. However, a growing body of human needs-related literature from other disciplines contributes to the liberal arts foundation of social work. In addition, other professions such as nursing have drawn extensively on human needs theory.
Human Needs and Social Work Accordingly, this bibliography will explore the history and evolution of the body of human needs theory and research on which social work has drawn historically. It will also provide an overview of the recent literature which can enrich social work’s attention to the concept of human needs and its relationship to such other key social work concepts such as human rights, social justice, diversity and oppression.
History of Needs Concepts in SWK As Bremner (1956) pointed out, the concept of human need tends to be periodically re-discovered, as the ambivalent history of social work’s usage suggests. Richmond’s approach to casework clearly distinguished between economic needs and expressed needs of clients (Richmond, 1922).
History of Needs Concepts in SWK Bertha Reynolds supported this growing focus on client self-determination, but worried that it could result in caseworker or societal neglect of basic human needs (Reynolds, 1935). The first human behavior in the social environment textbook was appropriately titled Common Human Needs (Towle, 1965).
History of Needs Concepts in SWK • Bremner, Robert Hamlett (1956). From the Depths: The Discovery of Poverty in the United States. New York: New York University Press. • Reynolds, Bertha Capen (1934). Between Client and Community: A Study of Responsibility in Social Case Work. New York: Oriole. • Towle, Charlotte (1965). Common Human Needs (Rev. ed.). Silver Spring, MD: National Association of Social Workers.
Early Psychological Theories of Human Need By the mid-1940’s, psychology had produced two conceptualizations of human motivations and needs (Murray, 1938; Maslow, 1943). Maslow warned that field theory was no replacement for needs theory (Maslow, 1943; Lewin, 1947).
Early Psychological Theories of Human Need Hearn used field theory to develop general systems theory, later the foundation of the ecosystems perspective (Hearn, 1958). Maslow’s theory was based upon an intuitive hierarchy of need rooted neither in philosophical method nor empirical research (Maslow, 1970).
Early Psychological Theories of Human Need Hearn, Gordon (1958). Theory Building in Social Work. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Maslow, Abraham H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Review, 50(4), 370-396. Maslow, Abraham H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2d ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
Postwar Social Work Discussion of Human Need In the U.S., human need content for social work education was seen as central by the early 1950s (Boehm, 1956, 1958; Stroup, 1953). Bisno recognized early on what has been a persistent human needs theory dilemma, namely how much stress to place on common human needs and human similarities rather than on human individual and cultural differences (Bisno, 1952).
Postwar Social Work Discussion of Human Need Functionalist theories of social welfare envisioned a social welfare system based upon an integrative view of human needs (Wilensky and Lebeaux, 1958). Despite recognizing that this integrative view was important for social work, Kahn concluded that given the relatively undeveloped state of needs theory, there was little choice but to define human needs within specific societal contexts (Kahn, 1957).
Postwar Social Work Discussion of Human Need Boehm, Werner (1956). The Plan for the Social Work Curriculum Study. New York: Council on Social Work Education. Kahn, Alfred J. (1957). Sociology and Social Work: Challenge and Invitation. Social problems, 4(2), 220-228. Wilensky, Harold L., & Lebeaux, Charles Nathan (1958). Industrial Society and Social Welfare. New York,: Russell Sage Foundation.
Recent Social Work Discussion of Human needs theory Human needs were often seen as normative and subjective, rather than being universal and objective (Ife, 2002). Rights-based discourse was often counterpoised to a needs-based approach (Ife, 2001), despite Gil’s clarification of the compatibility of human rights and human needs (Gil, 1992). Gil also clarified the centrality of human needs for understanding and achieving social justice (Gil, 2004).
Recent Social Work Discussion of Human needs theory • Gil, David (1992). Foreword. In Joseph Wronka (Ed.), Human Rights and Social Policy in the 21st Century. NY: University Press of America. • Gil, David G. (2004). Perspectives on Social Justice. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 10(Fall), 32-39.
Recent Social Work Discussion of Human needs theory Ife, Jim (2002). Community Development: Community-Based Alternatives in an Age of Globalisation (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia. Ife, Jim (2001). Human Rights and Human Needs. In Jim Ife (Ed.), Human Rights and Social Work : Towards Rights-Based Practice (pp. 76-88). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Marxian, Neo-Marxian and Feminist Approaches to Human Need Social work theory and practice evolved during an era of intense ideological and intellectual debates about the degree to which human needs were universal or relative, were consistent with Marxism or likely to reinforce social oppression, or were philosophically rigorous or value laden. One socialist feminist work prioritized the discursive nature of need identification (Fraser, 1989).
Marxian, Neo-Marxian and Feminist Approaches to Human Need Recent work has reinterpreted Marx’s theory of need (Hughes, 2000) and concluded that Marx identified the primacy of needs (Lebowitz, 2004). Noonan criticized rights-based theories of liberal democracy for giving primacy to property rights over demands for human need satisfaction (Noonan, 2004).
Marxian, Neo-Marxian and Feminist Approaches to Human Need Fraser, Nancy (1989). Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis. Fromm, Erich, & Marx, Karl (1966). Marx's Concept of Man. New York: F. Ungar. Hughes, Jonathan (2000). Ecology and Historical Materialism. Cambridge: New York: Cambridge University Press.
Marxian, Neo-Marxian and Feminist Approaches to Human Need Noonan, Jeff (2004). Rights, Needs, and the Moral Grounds of Democratic Society. Rethinking Marxism, 16(3), 311-325.
Human Needs and Political Economic Theory Major figures in philosophy (Nussbaum, 2000) and economics (Sen, 1985) have integrated the concept of human capabilities into their work on international social development. Nevertheless, some continued to argue that needs are ultimately socially constructed (Hamilton, 2003).
Human Needs and Political Economic Theory • Hamilton, Lawrence (2003). The Political Philosophy of Needs. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. • Nussbaum, Martha Craven (2000). Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press. • Sen, Amartya Kumar (1985). Commodities and Capabilities. New York: Elsevier.
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • Drawing upon the philosophical expertise of one author (Len Doyal) and the economic training of the other (Ian Gough), a fully-construed theory of universal human need was constructed that was designed to permit empirical testing of its constructs (Doyal and Gough, 1984, 1991).
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • Doyal, Len, & Gough, Ian (1991). A Theory of Human Needs. New York: Guilford. • Doyal and Gough theorized two primary basic needs (health and autonomy) which must be met to avoid serious harm and engage in social participation.
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • Civil, political, and women’s rights are prerequisites for culturally specific ways of satisfying intermediate needs, including food, water, housing, a nonhazardous environment, health and reproductive health care, security in childhood, significant primary relationships, economic security, and basic education.
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • Theory Overview (handout) • http://ecr.ulib.csuohio.edu/1/dove/doveeh.pdf • Theory Chart #2: • http://ecr.ulib.csuohio.edu/1/dove/doveei.pdf • Backup link: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mdover/
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • HANDOUT #1: The theory in outline
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need • HANDOUT #2: Figure 9.1
Doyal and Gough's Theory of Human Need Intentionally blank
Recent Psychological Theories of Human Need • Maslow’s theory was extended, giving further attention to the need for belonging and the importance of the interaction and caring seen as fulfilling the need to belong (Baumeister and Leary, 1995). Self-determination theory identified autonomy, competence and relatedness as universal psychological needs (Deci and Ryan, 2000; Ryan and Deci, 2000, 2001).
Recent Psychological Theories of Human Need • Baumeister, Roy F., & Leary, Mark R. (1995). The Need to Belong: Desire for Interpersonal Attachments as a Fundamental Human Motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529. • Deci, Edward L., & Ryan, Richard M. (2000). The "What" And "Why" Of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-68.
Recent Psychological Theories of Human Need • Ryan, Richard M., & Deci, Edward L. (2000). The Darker and Brighter Sides of Human Existence: Basic Psychological Needs as a Unifying Concept. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 319-338. • Ryan, Richard M., & Deci, Edward L. (2001). On Happiness and Human Potentials. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-166.
Recent Psychological Theories of Human Need • This micro-level approach to human needs was seen as compatible with the overarching Doyal/Gough theory (Gough, 2004; Camfield and Skevington, 2008).
Recent Psychological Theories of Human Need Camfield, Laura, & Skevington, Suzanne M. (2008). On Subjective Well-Being and Quality of Life. Journal Of Health Psychology, 13(6), 764-775. Gough, Ian (2004). Human Well-Being and Social Structures: Relating the Universal and the Local. Global Social Policy, 4(3), 289-311.
Philosophical Discussions of Human Need • There is growing mainstream philosophical consensus that the concept of need is essential to moral and political philosophy. Braybrooke (1987) demonstrated that lists of needs were philosophically groundless and that theoretical progress required the application of solid philosophical methods to longstanding questions of moral philosophy concerning social policy.
Philosophical Discussions of Human Need Brock and contributors to his edited collection utilized philosophical methods to debate developments in human needs theory (Brock, 1994; Doyal, 1998). Wiggins came down on the side of the centrality of universal rather than relativist conceptions of human need and stressed their importance for the understanding of social justice (Wiggins, 1987; Wiggins, 2005).
Philosophical Discussions of Human Need • Braybrooke, David (1987). Meeting Needs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. • Brock, Gillian (1994). Braybrooke on Needs. Ethics: An International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy, 104(4), 811-823. • Doyal, Len (1998). A Theory of Human Need. In Necessary Goods (pp. 157-172). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Philosophical Discussions of Human Need • Wiggins, David (1987). Needs, Values, Truth: Essays in the Philosophy of Value. Oxford, England: Blackwell. • Wiggins, David (2005). An Idea We Cannot Do Without: What Difference Will It Make …. to Recognize and Put to Use a Substantial Conception of Need? In Soran Reader (Ed.), The Philosophy of Need (pp. 25-50). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Nursing Theories of Human Need • Building upon the work of Montagu (1955) and others, Fortin traced the evolution of nursing’s use of human needs theory (Fortin, 2006). At least two textbooks integrated human needs concepts throughout (Ebersole, Hess, Tough, Jett and Lugen, 2008; Ellis and Elizabeth, 1994). (References upon request)
Nursing Theories of Human Need • Powers said that needs might be construed as deficiencies and needs-based approaches might result in oppressive approaches to nursing practice (Powers, 2006). Others used critical theory for humanist discourse about need (Holmes and Warelow, 1997) or adopted a transcultural approach to reconciling objective human needs with culturally informed nursing practice (Kikuchi, 2005).
Religion, Spirituality and Human Needs • Approaches to human needs also arose from theology and religious studies. Spirituality and/or religious practice are now seen as an important aspect in many conceptions of human need (Canda, 2008). The origins of religion were traced to the human need for an organized response to human deprivation (Nelson, 2006).
Religion, Spirituality and Human Needs • For instance, the biblical concept of justice was traced to concern for the needs of widows, orphans, migrants, and the poor (Marshall, 2006). Also, the need for religion was linked to the need to belong (Seul, 1999).
Religion, Spirituality and Human Needs • The evolution of human culture was found to be tied to the practice of religious rituals in nearly every cultural context (Rappaport, 1999). The major Abrahamic religions have all developed conceptions of human need, including Judaism (Heschel, 1965), Islam (Ismail and Sarif, 2004), and Christianity (Hugen, 2004).
Social Work Practice and Human Needs • No extant practice model in social work has human needs as a central concept. Joseph (1986) contended that human needs concepts should be central to community organizing. Reynolds (1991) distinguished between the needs of people and the needs of society, thus introducing a reciprocal and dialectical approach to the evolving person-in-the-environment approach.
Social Work Practice and Human Needs • Reid (1978) and Saleeby (2006) both raised concerns that a focus on needs might be disempowering to clients. Yet both the strengths perspective and the eco-systems perspective are both potentially compatible with human needs concepts (Dover and Joseph, 2008).
Social Work Practice and Human Needs • Both the goodness of fit approach of the ecosystems-based life model of practice and the needs resource approach to assessment incorporate needs concepts (German and Gitterman, 1980; Vigilante and Mailick, 1988).
Social Policy and Human Needs • The post-Cold War recognition that capitalism would be a longstanding social formation produced criticism of defeatist approaches towards the meeting of human needs in the meantime (Dover, 1992). (Dover, Michael A. (1992). Notes from the Winter of Our Dreams. Crossroads: Contemporary Political Analysis & Left Dialogue, 27(December), 20-22.)
Social Policy and Human Needs • Gil’s approach to policy analysis provided a tool for need-based social policy advocacy (Gil, 1992). (Gil, David G. (1992). Unravelling Social Policy: Theory, Analysis, and Political Action Towards Social Equality (5th ., rev. and enl ed.). Rochester, VT Schenkman Books)
Social Policy and Human Needs • Yet despite earlier work which distinguished between service needs and human needs and introduced the concept of human capabilities (McKnight, 1989), McKnight’s later work criticized needs assessment approaches which stressed deficiencies (McKnight, 1995).