Luring your child into this life: A being path for Infant care

Alma Gottlieb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


WHO ARE THE BENG? The Beng are one of the smallest and least known of about sixty ethnic groups in the West African nation of Côte d'Ivoire, or Ivory Coast. With a population of approximately 12,000? they live in some twenty villages located in an ecological border zone between the rain forest to the south and savanna to the north. The Beng are surrounded by neighbors who speak different languages from theirs (especially Baule, Ando, and Jimini). Their language is part of the Southern Mande group of languages that are spoken far to the west and southwest of the Beng. Most of their neighbors consider the Beng to be the indigenous population in the region. However, their history is complex and somewhat mysterious. Linguistic evidence suggests the current nation of Mali as a starting point from which the group split off and began a long series of migrations over 2,000 years ago. The Beng have no memory of the Atlantic slave trade. Perhaps whenever they felt the threat of slave traders passing nearby5 their ancestors managed to elude the slave hunters by escaping deep into the forest. Certainly as farmers living in relatively small villages in or near the rain forest, they knew the forest well, regularly making intense use of its animal and plant resources. They also engaged in long-distance trade in kola nuts, ceramic pottery, bark cloth, and other local products, largely with villagers and long-distance Muslim traders from the north, often using cowry shells as currency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA World of Babies
Subtitle of host publicationImagined Childcare Guides for Seven Societies
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780511818004
ISBN (Print)9780521662642
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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