In Edward Mullen (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Social Work. New York: Oxford University Press (2016)

Michael Alan Dover
Cleveland State University
Social work has long been concerned with the respective roles of the social work profession and the social welfare system in addressing human needs. Social workers engage in needs assessment together with client systems. They provide and advocate for the needs of clients, as well enabling and empowering clients and communities to address their needs. They also advocate for social welfare benefits and services and overall social policies that take human needs into account. However, explicit ethical content was not present in earlier Codes of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Furthermore, until very recently, little published literature in peer-reviewed journals has human needs theories to guide models of social work practice or inform social work research. Universalistic assumptions about human needs have long been found within social work’s literature on human development (see Jani and Reisch 2011, under General Overviews). However, these assumptions were often inexplicit. They did not fully utilize theories of human need, which have long recognized that although human needs may be universal, they are addressed in culturally and environmentally specific manners. Also, in practice, social workers have often conflated human needs with the need for the services or benefits available at any one time. This bibliography will explore the history and evolution of the interdisciplinary body of human needs theory and research on which social work has drawn historically, with special attention to the recent surge in interest in human needs theories. In doing so, the entry will discuss a number of key debates that have arisen regarding needs, including whether they are universal or specific to particular cultures; what the relationship is between human needs, human rights, and social justice; and how to reconcile theories of human needs and of human capabilities.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
I and Thou.Martin Buber - 1958 - New York: Scribner.
Commodities and Capabilities.Amartya Sen - 1985 - Oxford University Press India.
A Theory of Human Motivation.A. H. Maslow - 1943 - Psychological Review 50 (4):370-396.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Human Needs: Overview.Michael A. Dover - 2016 - Oxford//NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Human Needs: Overview.Michael A. Dover - 2016 - Oxford//NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work.
A Human Right Against Social Deprivation.Kimberley Brownlee - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251):199-222.
Casteism, Social Security and Violation of Human Rights.Desh Raj Sirswal - 2012 - In Manoj Kumar (ed.), Human Rights for All. Centre for Positive Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies (CPPIS), Pehowa (Kurukshetra). pp. 128-131.


Added to PP index

Total views
655 ( #10,445 of 2,455,641 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #17,780 of 2,455,641 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes