Some long-standing and emerging research lines in Africa

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Early research on child development in Africa was dominated by expatriates and was primarily addressed to the topics of testing the cross-cultural validity of theories developed "in the West," and the search for universals. After a brief review of the outcome of that research, we propose two additional types of motivation that seem important to us as African researchers begin to take the lead in articulating research agendas for the study of child development in Africa: articulating the contextual relevance and practical usefulness of developmental psychology in Africa; and making developmental psychology intelligible to local audiences. We highlight two major challenges for African societies in this era that call for attention by the emerging field of African child development research: linguistic hegemony and its effects on research and schooling; and the process of indigenization. We end with a preview of chapters in the rest of the volume.


New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development