[rdfweb-dev] Relationship Schema Updated

Ian Davis iand at internetalchemy.org
Fri Mar 19 10:07:17 UTC 2004

Hi Michael,

On Friday, March 19, 2004, 4:30:49 AM, Michael Bauser wrote:
> By that definition of cross-cultural, "kin" is *really* cross-cultural,
> but you're not advocating a generic "rel:kin" relationship, because
> you've made a *value* judgement about which "general" relationships are
> worth noting. Unfortunately, the generals you're advocating *aren't*
> especially helpful, or even *basic*, because they don't combine well
> enough to actually describe any kinship system *execept* English
> bilateral kindreds. They're not good building blocks. It's a textbook
> assumption of a cultural bias: You keep thinking your culture's system
> is the one that everyone else can be fitted into.
Well, actually a kin relationship could be useful here as a generic
kinship statement. Any particular culture would have a different range
of people that could be considered to be kin.

According to [1], kinship is "Relationship based on or modeled on the
culturally recognized connection between parents and children (and
extended to siblings and through parents to more distant relatives.)"

I would interpret this to mean that parent is a subproperty of kin, as is
sibling and child. However under this definition, spouse is not a
subproperty of kin.

Should there also exist the corresponding kith property which has, as
it's subproperties, friendOf, acquaintenceOf etc.?

> How do you use "Parent" to describe foster relationships? With a
> qualifer of some sort, which is one of the things I've been working out
> here, with helpful suggestions from other list members.
Parent is the general form of any parental relationship. It can be
specialised, but in it's present form it can be used to describe these
relationships. The comment in the schema is "A person who has given
birth to or nurtured and raised this person."  Do you have any
suggestions on making that less culturally biased?

The problem with restricting to "brother, daughter, father, husband,
mother, son, sister, and wife" is that it prevents me from asserting
that one of my grandmother's parents was born in Mexico. I don't know
which one but I do want to record that fact and refine it later.

Also the gender and sex neutral terms that the current vocabulary has
(parent, sibling, child) are temporally durable whereas brothers may
wish to undergo gender reassignment and ask to be called sister. It's
unlikely that they will cease to use the term sibling.

Finally spouse also avoids revealing any more information than is
necessary. For many situations it's sufficient for you to know that I
have a spouse but none of your business the role that spouse plays in
my family. One example is in job applications where the gender of the
applicant is elided from the application form to prevent any
discrimination claims.

These are not mutually exclusive. It's obviously just as useful to
assert a specific parental role as not to so there is room for e.g.
spouse, husband and wife.

[1] http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/Faculty/murphy/436/kinship.htm
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