Basic Human Needs, Alienation, and Inauthenticity
American Sociological Review, Vol. 33, Issue 6 (Dec., 1968), 870-885
Posted: 20 Nov 2013
Date Written: December 1968
This article presents a case for the usefulness of the concept of basic human needs. The author suggests that it is fruitful to assume that there is a universal set of basic human needs which have attributes of their own, not determined by the social structure, cultural patterns, or socialization processes. Ways are shown in which propositions which use the concept could be tested empirically. Restoration of the concept of basic human needs into sociological theory corrects the “over-socialized” conception of man, identifies a central distinction between the industrial and the emergent post-industrial society, and bridges two divergent traditions in sociology: structural-functional analysis and alienation.
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