Azehtyl Ethnographical Questionnaire

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Dr. Zahir’s Ethnographical Questionnaire was compiled by David Zahir to help in the description of concultures, and can be found in the files section of the Conculture group at Yahoo.


Questions of Place

Describe the geography of where your society calls home.

The Geography is relatively flat however the landscape is dominated by an overgrown railway. The nation is nearly a half mile in diameter and about 1/3rd of it comprises the Capital City. Most areas outside of the Capital City have been explored however for nearly 2/3rds of the year the Rails are so overgrown that they are relatively impassable.

Describe the climate your society deals with. How severe are their seasons?

The climate of the Free State belongs to a climatic transition zone, at the northern limit of the humid subtropical climate and the southern limit of the humid continental climate zone with an average yearly temperature of 45f in the winter and 64f in the summer, however there have been reports of temperatures as low as -25f in the winter and as high as 108f in the summer. Summers are hot and humid and Winters are cold and snowy. January averages the coldest month; with July the hottest. In winter the accumulated overgrowth in and around Whiskey Road (feutabasina baķeli) dies and is cut down, and normal traffic resumes until late spring when it all grows back.

What kinds of natural disasters has this society gotten used to?

Azehtyl deals with many bad thunderstorms during the Summer; Lightening has struck trees in the capital, storms have flooded the capital many times and high winds have caused considerable damage. There have been only 1 Tornado and 1 Hurricane to hit the nation in the last decade, and both only caused minor damage.

What are the most commonly-grown foods?

The most commonly grown foods are strawberries, squash, beans, radishes, cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, green beans, kale, collard greens, spinach and a number of edible mushrooms. Azehtyl has a very well developed foraging culture and strives to grow enough food to need to only import a small amount of things from the United States. Most of the capital city is covered by Farms and Gardens which are tended to by the entire community.

What are the most commonly-eaten meats?

The most commonly eaten meats are chicken, beef, pigs and lamb imported from the United States as the only domesticated animals the Azehtylik People keep are chickens which are kept for eggs. Azehtyl has an excellent culinary tradition stemming from a general appreciation for the finer things in life. Azehtyl's culinary tradition draws from France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Coastal America and many other places.

What foods are considered exotic or expensive?

What forms of alcohol are common? Rare?

Imported Whiskey is common in the Capital, however all across the nation you will find locally brewed Beer, Wine and Liquors being drunk by people from the ages of 14-15 years and older. Azehtyl is known for its Winter Ale and its Dandelion Wine, and also its Nocino, a sticky dark-brown liquor that originated in Northern Italy. Absinthe is considered a delicacy and is very rare in the nation.

Is there usually enough food and water for the population?

No one in the Nation goes starving, all citizens are given at least enough to survive. Recently Azehtyl has been working on securing its on Water Supply, however at the moment it pipes in most of its water from the United States. The Farms and Gardens in the Capital City provide a good portion of the food supply during late spring through late fall and the rest is imported from the United States. As its stands the nation simply does not have the space for large scale agriculture and so therefor must rely on foreign powers.

What is this place's most abundant resource?

The most abundant resource of the nation is Clay, which can be found in unusually high quantities near the surface (however this adversely means that crop rotation must be strictly enforced so as not to deplete the thin soil of its nutrients.) One other natural resource is Timber which Azehtyliks will store during the a summer for use in winter to heat their homes. Another major resource is Scraps found alongside the US and Azehtyl portions of Whiskey Road, as Azehtyliks' are very fond of repurposing anything they can and living as sustainably as they can.

What is its most valuable resource?

Azehtyl's most valuable resource is its scrap metal which has been found, modified and repurposed into everything form Walls to Rail Cars to Cities. Azehtyl has been known to export Scrap Metal to the United States at times, however this is not as common as one might think. A majority of money brought into the nation however comes in the form of Renasian foreign aid and Labor Export to the United States, with limited trading with a few nations such as the United States and Gishabrun.

What resource is it most lacking?

Azehtyl is most lacking in Energy esp. Natural Gas and Coal. Azehtyl has yet to set up any system of Solar or Wind Power, despite the general praise of that system, and therefor must import Electricity and Natural Gas (To a lesser extent) in order to power the nation In the case of termination or interruption of power from the United States, Azehtyl has stashes of Food and Supplies and also back up Gasoline Generators in the Capitol.

How do people travel from one place to another?

People travel within the nation either by walking or by bicycle due to the small size of the nation. There have been propositions by certain citizens that call for the construction of a railcar, however this project has yet to be completed and will not be for the foreseeable future.

Are the borders secure? In what way?

The Borders to the nation by way of the Whisky Road Border are secure to the North and South, however the ends are open to foot traffic from the US as the Border is not marked. The North and South border of Whisky Road is blocked off by trees and a few state built fences. During the Summer, however, foot traffic is nearly non existent due to how overgrown the Road is.

How many people live here?

At the time of writing Azehtyl has a population of 5 people with 4 being permanent residents.

Where in this place to they congregate?

What part of this place do they avoid? Why?

What are the most common domesticated animals here? And what are they domesticated for?

What are the most common wild animals?

Which animals are likely to be pets? Which ones won't be?

Questions of Time

How far back does this society's written history go?

How far back do its people believe it goes?

What is the worst disaster they believe they've faced?

What was the best thing that every happened to them?

What in their past makes them feel ashamed?

What in their past makes them proud?

What are they afraid of happening again?

What are they hoping will happen? Do they think it likely?

What do they assume the future will hold?

How has this society changed? Do its current members realize this?

What are the most popular stories about the past?

Who in the past is the greatest hero? The worst villain?

Do people think the present better or worse than the past?

Do people believe the future will be better or worse than the present or past?

Questions of Sex and Family

How many spouses may a man or woman have?

Who decides on a marriage?

Can a marriage end in divorce? How?

Who usually takes custody of children if a marriage ends for some reason?

How is adultery defined? What (if any) is the punishment? Who decides?

How are families named?(g) What happens to orphans?

How are boy and girl children treated differently?

Are premarital relations allowed?

How does your society define incest? Rape? How do people react to these?

What, if anything, is considered a good marriage gift?

What secret vice is believed to be widely practiced?

What secret vice actually is practiced?

What sexual habits are widely believed common among foriegners?

How do people react to homosexuality?

How do the genders dress?

Is prostitution legal? How are prostitutes viewed? Is this accurate?

What professions or activities are considered masculine?

What professions or activities are viewed as feminine?

What inanimate or sexless things are considered male or female?

What is the biggest sexual taboo?

Does this society connect the ideas of marriage with love?

What does this society mean by the word "virgin" and how important it it?

Questions of Manners

Who speaks first at a formal gathering?

What kinds of gifts are considered in extremely bad taste?

How do younger adults address their elders?

What colors are associated with power? With virtue? With death?

If two men get into a fight, how is this supposed to be resolved?

If two women get into a fight, how should that be resolved?

When is it rude to laugh at something funny?

What kinds of questions cannot be asked in public? In private? At all?

How do people demonstrate grief?

What does this society do with their corpses?

What kinds of jewelry do people where? And when?

Who inheirits property? Titles? Position?

What happens to those suffering from extreme mental illness?

What are the most popular games? How important are they?

What parts of the body are routinely covered?

How private are bodily functions like bathing or defecating?

How do people react to physical deformity?

When and how does someone go from child to adult?

Questions of Faith

Is there a formal clergy? How are they organized?

What do people believe happens to them after death? How, if at all, can they influence this?

What happens to those who disagree with the majority on questions of religion?

Are there any particular places considered special or holy? What are they like?

What are the most popular rituals or festivals?

What do people want from the god or gods? How do they try and get it?

How do their religious practices differ from their neighbours?

What is the most commonly broken religious rule?(i) What is the least-violated religious rule?

What factions exist within the dominant religious institutions? How do they compete?

Are there monastic groups? What do they do and how are they organized? How do you join one?

How are those who follow different faiths treated?

What relationship do religious and political leaders have?

What superstitions are common? What kinds of supernatural

events/beings do people fear?

Questions of Government

Who decides whether someone has broken a law? How?

What kinds of punishments are meted out? By whom? Why?

How are new laws created or old ones changed?

Is there some form of clemency or pardon? What is involved?

Who has the right to give orders, and why?

What titles do various officials have?

How are the rules different for officials as opposed to the common person?

How do government officials dress?

Is the law written down? Who interprets it?

Once accused, what recourse does someone have?

Is torture allowed? What kinds?

How are people executed?

Who cannot rise to positions of leadership?

Is bribery allowed? Under what circumstances?

What makes someone a bad ruler in this society? What can be done about it?

What are the most common or dangerous forms of criminal?

Questions of War

Who declares war?

Who has the power to declare conditions of peace?

What happens to prisoners taken in battle?

What form of warfare does this society use?

Who are the Elite warriors? What distinguishes them?

How does someone get command of troops?

Where do the loyalties of military units lie?

Are there professional soldiers? Do they make up the bulk of the military?

Has this society ever attacked another? Do they want to? What would make them do so?

Who are their enemies? Who's winning?

What do soldiers do when there's no war?

Questions of Education

Does this society have its own language? Its own writing?

How common is literacy? How is literacy viewed?

What form and value are books?

Who teaches others? How do they teach?

Who decides who learns to read or write?(f) Who teaches professions, like carpenter or scribe?

Are foreigners ever brought in to teach new skills? Who does that?

How do this society's doctors try to treat wounds and sickness?

Which medical assumtions of this society are wrong?

Questions of Art

What are the favorite artforms?

What are the least-favorite?

How respected are artists?

Do artists require official or unofficial protection?

What kinds of trouble are artists in particular likely to find themselves in?

How might a very successful artist live?

What forms of theatre does your society have?

How naturalistic or stylized is your society's art?

What shapes are most common in your society's arts, like embroidery or architecture?

Which artforms get the most and least respect?

What form does censorship take?

Who may not be an artist?

What qualities equal "beauty" in this society?

What makes a man or woman especially beautiful?

How do people react to tattoos? Piercings? Facial hair? Make-up?

Questions of sex and marriage

Is sex confined to marriage?

Or, is it supposed to be? What constitutes aberrant behavior?

Is there anything about this culture or religion in that culture that specifically addresses sexual conduct?

Are there laws about it? What about prostitution?

How old should someone be in your culture to be having sex?

What is considered too great a difference in age for a couple?

Do relationships allow multiple partners?

Should sex be a one-to-one experience? Or are groups allowed?

And, of course, what about homosexuality? Is it frowned on? Encouraged?

Questions of death and burial

What is their understanding of death and dying?

Do they cremate their dead? Or, how are dead bodies disposed of?

Is the family responsible for the body?

What part do the priests play?

Are there cemeteries at all?

Or, does everyone have a crypt in back with all the relatives in it?

Do people visit the dead? If so, how often and why?

Questions of suicide

What do people in this culture think about suicide?

Is it the greatest sin one can commit? Or is it a sin at all?

Is it the great and last comfort of a tormented soul?

Is it worse than murder?

Questions of Law, Justice and Police

Is there a civilian police force, or is law enforcement the province of the military?

Is the police force a nationalised one, or are there multiple regional forces?

How "military" are they? Are they usually/ever armed?

What is the extent of their authority? Can they shoot you? Can they use magic? Can they torture or otherwise force a confession? Can they use telepathy?

Are there individuals or groups who are above the law?

Is there a secret police?

What is the role of police informants, if any?