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A World of Babies
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  • 22 b/w illus. 1 map
  • Page extent: 298 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.44 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 649/.1
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: GN482 .W67 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Child rearing--Cross-cultural studies
    • Socialization--Cross-cultural studies

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521664752 | ISBN-10: 0521664756)

  • There was also a Hardback of this title but it is no longer available | Adobe eBook
  • Published May 2000

Replaced by 9781316502570

$35.99 (P)

Are babies divine, or do they have the devil in them? Should parents talk to their infants, or is it a waste of time? Answers to questions about the nature and nurture of infants appear in this book as advice to parents in seven world societies. Imagine what Dr. Spock might have written if he were a healer from Bali...or an Aboriginal grandmother from the Australian desert...or a diviner from a rural village in West Africa. As the seven "child care manuals" in this book reveal, experts worldwide offer intriguingly different advice to new parents. A World of Babies brings alive infant care practices around the world in the form of baby and child care manuals "written" by members of seven real societies. The information, while presented in an imaginative fictive format, is based on extensive research by anthropologists, psychologists, and historians. Encountering fascinating facts about how people in other societies view and raise their babies, readers may be led to see the beliefs and practices of their own society from a new perspective. The creative format of this book brings alive a rich fund of ethnographic knowledge, vividly illustrating a simple but powerful truth: there exist many models of babyhood, each shaped by deeply held values and widely varying cultural contexts. After reading this book, you will never again view child-rearing as a matter of "common sense." Judy DeLoache is Professor of Psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Alma Gottlieb is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Foreword Jerome Bruner; 1. If Dr Spock were born in Bali: raising a world of babies Judy S. DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb; 2. A parenting manual with words of advice for Puritan mothers Debbie Reese; 3. Luring your child into this life: a Beng path for infant care Alma Gottlieb; 4. Baby and child care in Bali Marissa Diener; 5. Making babies in a Turkish village Carol Delaney; 6. Infants of the dreaming: a Warlpiri guide to child care Sophia L. Pierroutsakos; 7. The view from the Wuro: a guide to childrearing for Fulani parents Michelle C. Johnson; 8. Never leave your little one alone: raising an Ifaluk child Huynh-Nhu Le.


"... a fascinating account of parenting practices outside the western norm." Mothering

"Judy DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb's book is just delightful. What a treat to read about the early child rearing practices in seven cultures around the world. The universals and the individual differences are just wonderful. This book should be a treat for all parents everywhere." T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

"A World of Babies is a witty, charming, and yet thoughtful and informative book that delivers anthropological insights painlessly....A World of Babies, with its seven truth-filled fictional manuals on child-rearing in different parts of the world, gently persuades us that bringing a new person into existence is always a question of culture and history. Put away your volumes of Dr. Spock and enter a world where there is no final wisdom about what is best for baby; only as many variations on the theme as there are ways of imagining what it means to create a new human life." Ruth Behar, University of Michigan

"A refreshingly creative strategy to communicate the extraordinary variety in beliefs and rearing practices that can produce healthy, happy children. Every American parent should reflect on these cultural essays." Jerome Kagan, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Infancy: Its Place in Human Development

"If you ever find yourself assuming that there's just one right way--your way--to bring up babies, read this book. It's highly enjoyable and such a good idea that I only wish I'd thought of it myself." Penelope Leach, Ph.D.

"Having a baby is a life-enhancing and mind-extending trip into new lands, much like the marvelous anthropology of child rearing in this book. Take its expedition and it may help clarify the values and contexts of your own parenting, and bring the world's children into the clearer focus of our knowledge and concern." Catherine Lutz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"A fascinating, first-of-a-kind book....We learn a tremendous amount about each culture as we read the guidelines its members might have written for raising babies, for it is in these rules that the members of a culture display their deepest beliefs and highest ideals. Their extreme differences teach us to look beyond the narrow confines of our own childraising customs and to celebrate the rich diversity of the human family." Robbie Davis-Floyd, Author, Birth as an American Rite of Passage

"...fascinating reading...." Library Journal

"This is an entertaining and educational collection of invented guidebooks spanning the intriguing opportunity to learn about other cultures." Booklist

"A World of Babies is a fascinating book and is easy to read. It will make a wonderful addition to perinatal health professionals' personal and lending libraries and a nice gift for second- and third-time moms who already have Spock, Brazelton, and/or Leach on their bookshelves." J Hum Lact


Jerome Bruner, Judy S. DeLoache, Alma Gottlieb, Debbie Reese, Marissa Diener, Carol Delaney, Sophia L. Pierroutsakos, Michelle C. Johnson, Huynh-Nhu Le

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