Heller's concept of needs: a theorical approach to analyze health management practices
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Instituto de Saúde Coletiva, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Guatemala
Instituto de Saúde Coletiva, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
Instituto Multidisciplinar em Saúde, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1848
Background and Objective: Recently, the world experienced a major health crisis and social inequities exacerbated. In response of the ongoing crises, recent scholarly work addresses the urge of modifying current healthcare models trough health management practices focused on social determination of health. Rooted in the Latin American collective health thought, this study aims to search in the work of the philosopher Agnes Heller answers to study health management practices. Methods: We conducted a theoretical-reflective study. We focused on Agnes Heller´s thought on needs and everyday life. Particularly, in Heller´s “The Theory of Need in Marx”, “A Theory of Needs Revisited” and “Altag und Geschichte: zur sozialistischer Gesellschaftslehre”. Results: Needs in Hellers work is not an alienated category or restricted to possessing goods. Rather, appears as material, intangible, and effective demands, qualitatively different and socially constructed. Heller aims to promote social change through emancipation, since it is impossible to satisfy needs within the capitalist system. This requires collective subjects carrying radical needs. These subjects disrupt the individualistic and narcissistic approach on everyday life, without denying their singular experience. Heller proposes to analyze the characteristics of everyday life to determine the alienation of needs. Three elements are important for understanding needs: the ontological element denies the needs’ naturalistic character and recognizes its historicity. The ethical element states that satisfying needs should not invert the relation between means-ends, and quantity-quality. Finally, the political element centers on social institutions and a democratic culture to satisfy needs. Conclusions: Health management practices focused on social needs allow avoiding the reductionism of health care models limited to medical-assistance services. Hellers concept of needs is useful for overcoming the fragmentation of social demands into numerous individual needs. Permitting us to think about democratic governance mechanisms to capture needs. New ways of satisfying needs outside the capitalist system pends.
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