Intimate Fathers

The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paternal Infant Care
Barry S. Hewlett
This systematic study of non-Western fathers' roles in infant care focuses on the Aka pygmies of central Africa


Intimate Fathers examines infant care among one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer populations on earth---the Aka pygmies of central Africa. It focuses on fifteen fathers and their infants less than eighteen months of age, using qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine levels of father-infant interaction and to assess the ideology, attitudes, and values associated with Aka parenting.

Aka fathers' roles can be characterized by their intimate, affectionate, and helping nature. Aka fathers spend 47 percent of their day holding or within arm's reach of their infants, and while holding their infants are more likely than the mothers to hug and kiss them. Aka conceptions of good and bad fathers reiterate these roles: a good father should show affection for his children, stay near them, and assist the mother when her workload is heavy.

Intimate Fathers is the only systematic study of non-Western fathers' roles in infant care. It calls into question some of the mother-focused Western psychological and sociological notions about fathers' influence on infant and child development, and it provides a special glimpse of the lives and culture of a fascinating and endangered population.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is an important book. . . . The contribution Hewlett has made to our knowledge of socialization and fatherhood is likely to be of long-standing value."

  • ". . . Hewlett demonstrates the importance of father-infant relationships. . . . He also presents a comparative picture in which the forest-dwelling Aka are compared to their Negro agriculturalist neighbors."

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 216pp.
  • numerous tables and charts, 17 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08203-2

Add to Cart
  • $28.95 U.S.