#498 Permit new <persona> as a child of <person>

AMBER
open
Lou Burnard
5(default)
2014-07-01
2014-02-22
David J Birnbaum
No

Feature request

Summary or proposal: Add a <persona> element as a child of <person>, with the same content model as <person>.

The problem: A TEI <person> may appear in disguise, a situation that is currently difficult to express in a TEI personography.

Here are two distinct cases, the second of which is naturally modeled with the proposed <persona> child of <person>:

Case 1) Daniel Day Lewis is disguised as Abraham Lincoln. Both Lewis and Lincoln are persons <person>, with distinct DNA.

Case 2) Barry Humphreys is disguised as Dame Edna Everage. Not the same as Lewis and Lincoln because there are not two persons, with distinct DNA. Projecting from the real to the fictional, the same is true of Jeckyll and Hyde (that is, in their fictional world they have the same DNA).

The focus of this proposal is on Case 2, where the relationship is not between two human beings, but between two personae assumed by a single (real or fictional) human being. This proposal makes no recommendation about encoding Case 1.

A natural representation of Case 2 would involve permitting a new element, <persona>, as a child of <person>. <persona> would have the same content model as <person>. The XML parent/child relationship is a natural way to express that a single human being may operate in multiple guises, perhaps with some inherited information, but potentially with completely different (assumed or natural) names, traits, and statuses.

To use @sameAs to link two <person> elements in Case 2 would elevate an identity (or persona) to the status of person. As the Chair of the Personography Working Group wrote on TEI-L, 2014-02-20: "someone disguising him- or herself as someone else does not become a different physical person -- certainly not in the way we intended the <person> element to be used, to 'provide information about an identifiable individual'."

The proposal is intended to address the Case 2 situation described above. Discussion of the proposal should not be distracted by Case 1, or by edge cases, such as triune divine hypostases; it is not intended to address those situations. It should also not be distracted by the distinction between real and fictional persons. Finally nothing in this proposal would prohibit a project from deciding that, in local use, Humphreys and Everage and Jeckyll and Hyde are all different persons, and therefore different <person> elements, and that the relationship among them should be expressed using @sameAs or <relation>. What the proposal would do is permit someone who views Humphreys and Everage as different personae of the same person (likewise for Jeckyll and Hyde) to encode them in a way that captures the fact that at the most fundamental level they are the same identifiable individual.

Discussion

  • great, but why not use permit <person> as a child of <person>, with the semantics you describe?

    one consideration would be where the two personae are entirely equal, so one would one outer <person> with two inner <persona>. This may mean loosening the content model of <person>, if there are are compulsory elements. I am distinguishing here between the Jekyll/Hyde schizophrenic case, where neither side is the "master", and the case of Fernando Pessoa who invented complete personae as Ricardo Reis and Alvaro do Campos, but remains clearly the "main" record.

     
    Last edit: Sebastian Rahtz 2014-02-22
    • No objection to permitting <person> as a child of <person> (instead of a new <persona>), except that it attenuates the definition of person quoted earlier by Matthew. Since there has been some disagreement about that definition, perhaps that isn't entirely a Bad Thing. For what it's worth, I don't have any trouble deciding which persona is the real <person> (even if not the real "person") in the case of Jeckyll and Hyde, but I understand that others might.

      At the moment an empty <person> element appears to be valid, so I'm not sure how much more relaxed we can get.

       
  • ridicously, <person><p><person..</person></p></person> is legal, as is
    <person><event><p><person..</person></p></event></person>. I was starting to wonder if a
    sub-personality would in fact be wrapped in an event.

     
  • Not necessarily "would," but perhaps "could." Should I infer, from the "ridiculously," that you aren't advocating that I use a meaningless <p> wrapper as a trick for nesting persons?

     
  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2014-02-22

    i think a case can be made for distinguishing a person from a persona. (I don't think a good case can be made for nesting person within person, particularly via the sort of trick suggested above), A person is an identifiable and unique entity, whether in the real world or in an imagined one, whereas a persona is a constructed person (a refPerson as it were) associated with a person in a very particular way. The same persona might be assumed by different persons at different times. If persons are supposed to be unique this becomes tricky.

     
  • Hmm, the sort of persona David asks for are identifiable and unique entities. We are explicitly not talking about personae (Mr Blobby, The Pearly King) adopted by different people at different times. The relationship between Jekyll and Hyde, or the protagonists in Olaf Stapledon's A Man Divided, is not one of a "constructed person associated with a person in a very particular way". Is Ricardo Reis less real than Fernando Pessoa?

    I definitely don't condone the "person within p" trick!

     
  • Martin Holmes
    Martin Holmes
    2014-02-23

    I agree that there is a good use-case for a <persona> element, and that it makes sense for it to appear within <person>, but surely it also needs to be able to appear outside it too? The same persona may be assumed by different people at different times. Might we need <listPersona> too?

    It's going to be important that we can very clearly distinguish "roles" from "personas", and clarify the differences between them.

     
  • i don't think its a valid <persona> if its shared between people, its a role. We're not using this for Day Lewis playing Lincoln, after all, or the persona of the Pearly King. To my mind a <persona> is unique, and linked to a unique <person>. Or do you have a counter example? well, I suppose Jack the Ripper may appear as a persona of several people, but they are different Jacks.

     
  • Martin Holmes
    Martin Holmes
    2014-02-23

    How about "I am Spartacus"?

     
  • ah. are you going to mention the effect of polyjuice option in Harry Potter too...?

     
  • Martin Holmes
    Martin Holmes
    2014-02-23

    I might if I knew what it was, but I've never read any Harry Potter. But how about: "...in The Importance of Being Earnest Algernon and Jack both take on the persona of Earnest simultaneously confusing those around them" (http://clarityenglish3.blogspot.ca/2012_03_01_archive.html). Actors play roles whose characters take on the persona of someone non-existent, and two of them take on that persona. So I think personas must have an existence outside the person that plays them (whether that person is a real person or a fictitious one).

     
  • James Cummings
    James Cummings
    2014-05-19

    Assigning to Lou Burnard to triage and make a report to council to see if we can get some consensus on this.

     
  • James Cummings
    James Cummings
    2014-05-19

    • assigned_to: Lou Burnard
     
  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2014-05-19

    I think the proposal as originally expressed above is persuasive. It allows (but does not require) an encoder to distinguish multiple persona within a single person element, the latter being defined as a biological entity, real or fictional, and the former as a particular identifiable set of co-occurring personal properties, behaving like a person. A persona is not the same as a role, which can be assumed by many people. However, as the discussion above shows, the distinction is not entirely clear to everyone, and will require some careful wording.

     
  • Martin Holmes
    Martin Holmes
    2014-07-01

    Council group discussion 2014-07-01 was generally favourable. We would like to ask the proposer to provide a full proposal for the new <persona> element, including a definition which clearly distinguishes it from concepts which are similar, along with fully-encoded examples.