Child Care and Culture: Lessons from Africa

Child Care and Culture: Lessons from Africa


By (author) Robert A. Levine, By (author) Sarah LeVine, By (author) Suzanne Dixon, By (author) Amy Richman, By (author) P. Herbert Leiderman, By (author) Constance Keefer, By (author) T. Berry Brazelton


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  • Format: Paperback | 380 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 228mm x 26mm | 621g
  • Publication date: 13 September 1996
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 052157546X
  • ISBN 13: 9780521575461
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: 45 b/w illus. 1 map

Product description

Child Care and Culture examines parenthood, infancy, and early childhood in an African community, revealing patterns unanticipated by current theories of child development and raising provocative questions about 'normal' child care in the human species. Comparing the Gusii people of Kenya, whose practices were intensively observed from the combined perspectives of social anthropology, pediatrics, and developmental psychology, with the American white middle class, the authors show how divergent cultural priorities create differing conditions for early childhood development.

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Review quote

"Child Care and Culture provides an outstanding model for how to bring population-level cultural or ethnic variation into the study of parenting and human development not only in far-off places like Africa, but everywhere." Thomas S. Weisner, Contemporary Psychology "This book presents not only a wealth of investigation and description about infancy in East Africa, but raises questions about the very foundations of human consciousness...Child Care and Culture provides an interesting and provocative look at American theories in contrast with Gusii practices, and expands concepts of the meaning of early human experience to life in each society." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease "This well-written and engaging book provides a glimpse into this world and how it has changed over the past 40 years...Child Care and Culture is a valuable and provocative book. It describes an important project and raises interesting questions about the nature and course of human development. Finally, the authors are to be commended for conducting a project that has contributed in both scholarly and humanitarian ways." Mary Gauvain, Mind, Culture, and Activity "Child Care and Culture provides an outsatnding model for how to bring population-level cultural or ethnic variation into the study of parenting and human development..." Thomas S. Weisner, Contemporary Psychology

Table of contents

Foreword; List of tables and figures; Preface; Part I. African Infancy: Frameworks For Understanding: 1. The comparative study of child care; 2. Infant care in subsaharan Africa; Part II. Parenthood Among The Gusii of Kenya: 3. Gusii culture: A person-centered perspective; 4. Gusii fertility, marriage, and family; 5. Pregnancy and birth: Part III. Infant Care and Development in a Gusii Community: 6. Infant care: Cultural norms and interpersonal environment; 7. Survival and health: The priorities of parents; 8. Communication and social learning during infancy; 9. Variations in infant interaction: Illustrative cases: Part IV. Interpretations: 10. Early child development in an African context: Comparative lessons; Appendices; References.