[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Richard Lennox listserve at richardlennox.net
Sun Mar 14 16:44:02 UTC 2004

Ok Im pretty new to this but will throw my opinion into the pot.

Firstly, is it not enough to just say spouseOf? There is no indication of
wife or husband just that  X is the spouse Of Y.  In todays societies there
is no reason as to why gender should come into this relationship at all.
Gender describes the person not the realationship.  The point regarding
male-roles and female-roles in the relationship - maybe 50yrs ago there were
defined roles but not today.

Other relationships can be inferred through logic.  parentOf for example,
gender specifies that the person is either father or mother, despite the
practical parental role played in the childs life.   For example,
scientifically at this point in time Women cannot be fathers (maybe with
gene work in the future but there would need to be great social change).
Somewhat different point: should there not be something to say while not
biologically parentOf, parentOf in the case of adoption.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Bauser" <michael at bauser.com>
Cc: <rdfweb-dev at vapours.rdfweb.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2004 9:08 AM
Subject: Re: [rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

> Hash: SHA1
> Morten Frederiksen wrote:
> > For those that haven't, it seems the anthropologists have figured out,
> that
> > all kin-relationships can be defined with just eight terms: mother,
> father,
> > sister, brother, daughter, son, wife and husband.
> >
> > Comparing with the relationship schema, it seems that
> > parentOf/childOf/siblingOf/spouseOf could be split into the genered
> > counterparts, but as we already have a separate gender property, it
> doesn't
> > seem necessary.
> I *think* you're thinking that an intersection of foaf:gender and
> /rel:(child|parent|sibling|spouse)Of/ are enough to identify someone's
> role, like "husband" or "wife". There are at least Three Problems that
> prove this won't work:
> The First Problem is that you're assuming the value of foaf:gender is
> always going to be "male" or "female". It's not, because the spec isn't
> written to enforce that. Other values *are* going to show up.
> There are intersexed and transgendered individuals who break the
> male==husband, female==wife  mold. In particular, intersexed individuals
> may disavow the strict male/female gender identities, while still
> accepting the role of wife/husband, because their culture doesn't have a
> third spousal role available. Someone can be the "husband" without being
> 100% "male".
> (Is this getting weird enough for everybody yet?)
> The natural response is to turn the equation around, say that "everyone
> married to a woman must be a husband" and hope two intersexuals never
> marry each other, but that won't work, either, because of the Second
> Problem:
> Same-sex marriage. The person married to a woman might be the other
> wife. So, you can't count on the foaf:gender of either spouse to
> describe the kinship role of either spouse. See, "husband" and "wife"
> aren't *literally* "male spouse" and "female spouse", they're "spouse
> with the male role in a marriage contract" and "spouse with female role
> in a marriage contract".
> "Male role" and "female role" are, of course, culturally defined and
> individually flexible; the sociological/anthropological utility of the
> "husband/wife" divide is two-fold:
> 1) Every society recognizes the division.
> 2) Each society gives the roles non-negotiable positions in descent
> lineages.
> The second fact, is our Third Problem with using foaf:gender...
> Women can be husbands and fathers.  For example, the Nuer (under certain
> circumstances) allow infertile women to become "husbands" -- that is,
> they marry another woman, and if the second woman (also known as "the
> wife") has children, the children are part of the infertile woman's
> *patrilineage*. A person can be a culturally-valid "father" while being
> 0% "male", and a woman can be married without being a wife *or* a lesbian.
> It's not about gender, it's about lineages and social roles. spouseOf,
> childOf, siblingOf, and parentOf just don't make the grade, because
> there inability to anchor someone's position in a lineage prevents them
> from describing real roles in real social networks.
> Kinship is not a trivial aspect of social networks. In fact, kinship
> networks are the only social networks that are universal. Every human
> society recognizes some form of kinship (and the eight basic kinship
> relationships), and every human being has kin. We can't even *pretend*
> FOAF is good for describing social networks unless there's a compatible
> vocabulary that has the key kinship relationships locked down.
> > The properties grandchildOf/grandparentOf/descendantOf/ancestorOf
> could be
> > left out, as these can be described by introducing the intermediaries
> (as all
> > other kin-relationships can, e.g. uncle).
> >
> > Aside from the mentioned properties, the rest of the schema deals with
> other
> > kinds of relationships, the "social" ones. These aren't exactly
> easier, but
> > at least that'll always be a matter of taste...
> I have objections to several of those as well; see my reply to Ian's
> message.
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