Revisiting Maslow: Human Needs in the 21st Century

Event Date: 
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Event Time: 
9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Location: 
5 Ivy Lane, Seminar Room

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, in cooperation with the Department of Sociology, the University Center for Human Values and the Communitarian Network, will sponsor a day-long workshop, "Revisiting Maslow: Human Needs in the 21st Century," on Saturday, April 29, 2017, starting at 9:30 a.m., in the seminar room of 5 Ivy Lane on the Princeton University campus. The workshop is organized by non-resident fellow, Uriel Abulof, associate professor of politics at Tel-Aviv University. To attend the workshop, RSVP to Angella Matheney.  

The workshop will consider the questions: What is human nature? Are there innate, hierarchical, human needs and motivations? Have they transformed? What are the social-political implications? Over seventy years ago Abraham Maslow submitted "A Theory of Human Motivation" (1943). His subsequent pyramid-shape hierarchy of needs captured the world's imagination by suggesting that humans are driven by innate needs for survival, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-realization, in that order. "Revisiting Maslow" brings together scholars and students who share Maslow's fascination with the foundations of the human experience. It explores the merits and limitations of Maslow's theory, focusing on what recent generations have taught us about human nature, needs and motivations. Are we gradually moving up the pyramid, leaving behind worries about survival and safety, or has globalization pushed us back to those bare necessities compounding them with an elusive search for belonging and esteem? Is self-realization still a viable goal or has it become a mere advertising devise in a consumerist society? Can we add more blocks to Maslow's pyramid, and change its shape to better reflect (modern) humanity or what it could, and should, become? We seek to unearth these haunting questions, and look for answers. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “If you have your ‘why?’ in life, you can get along with almost any ‘how?’” If the same goes for humanity, revisiting Maslow is imperative.