Needs as claims.
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SPICKER, P., 1993. Needs as claims. Social Policy and Administration, 27 (1), pp. 7-17.
People 'need' things if they will suffer negative effects without them. Needs are based in problems, but they are not only problems; they have to be understood in terms of a relationship between functional problems and resources. Needs are a form of claim made against services. The concept of 'need' is not decisive in the allocation of resources, and this paper argues that the concept has to be understood as a form of claim-language. Once needs are understood in terms of claims, many of the apparent difficulties in conceptualising the issues dissolve; the main conflicts are between different types of claims, rather than contested definitions of need. Similarly, the establishment of priorities between greater and lesser needs depends on the strength of the claim which the needs present, and the context in which services operate, rather than on intrinsic comparisons between different levels of need. It follows that need is often not the sole, or even the primary, determinant of the legitimacy of a claim. Greater needs only have priority over lesser ones if they also constitute a claim of a different, and stronger, kind.