Goga 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.

Note: I have abandoned this project, so I've trimmed all the unanswered questions.

Questions of Place

Describe the geography of where your society calls home.

From their home city of Neripi, the Khul people claim 97% of the territory on planet Teppala, but only have settled about 10% . Even of this, control is very weak outside the coastal strip from around 35N to 46N and 5W to 14E. This page is intended to deal with the people who live in the five coastal nations, but because they have spread themselvse throughout the empire as explroers, some info deals with the other parts of the empire as well. I will call this Goga for now (Khulls for "core") but will almost certainly change the name later on. This was a name that was actually used by the natives at some point, but was primarily intended to distinguish them politically from the much poorer areas of the empire rather than being a cultural designation.

Like Pusapom, Goga (and hte Khulls empire in general) is an interspecies society in which humans are just one of many civilizations sharing the territory. However, unlike Pusapom, interspecies contact is limited, so humans mostly live with humans and don't even see the firebirds, hedgehogs, wolves, and bears with whom they share their power on a daily basis. Part of the reason for this is because whereas Pusapom (or at least its capital, Blop) is in the nexus of the natural habitats of many different animals, Goga has a distinct series of biomes where the natural habitats of the animals dont overlap much. Apart from humans, who are adaptable to nearly everything, much of the territory of the Goga empire is uninhabitable for the other sapient species. E.g. firebirds can't deal with temperatures above 70F, yet there are areas of Goga where it is over 100F almost every day. Hedgehogs are able to survive in most climates where humans live but generally avoid the coastal areas.

There are also dolphins, but they (obviously) do not come on land very often.

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

The climate of the Goga Coastal Strip is much warmer than Poswob locations at similar latitudes. Average winter temperatures range from about 38F at the northern extremity to 55F at the southwestern border with Tšabas (called "Wamia" below), and summer temperatures range from about 51F to 65F respectively. Some offshore islands never see snow even though they are at 40N-45N, the same latitudes that are frozen even in summer further east. Moreover, like the US Pacific, the cool summers are for the immediate coast only and it is much warmer and drier inland. Even just a few miles from the beaches, temperatures of 100F (in the north) and 110F (in the south) are not uncommon. Thus, it is much like the US west coast overall, in that it has warmer winters and warmer summers than areas further east, and the climate is wet on the immediate coast but throughout the vast interior the summers are relatively dry. However, the shape of the land is much more like Europe than North America, which means that there is a lot of available flat land in which to settle, and although there are plenty of mountains, they are narrow and gentle and easily crossed, unlike the Rockies.

Nevertheless, the Goga strip is just a tiny part of the Khulls Empire, and the people have been building settlements nearly everywhere they can get to. There are settlements in Greenland-like areas where the temperature rarely goes above freezing, and in the winter can drop to -94F, and the only available foods are seabirds and fish. This land is useless in itself but the Khulls people have been fighting for control of it because it would enable them to completely encircle the Rum Ocean which would in turn give them a safe andf friendly route to the east coast.

There are also cities located very far south, such as in the Tropical Rim, which is a term for the south coast of the entire continent. Unlike the Poswob Empire, which only goes down to about 25N, the Khulls empire has millions of square miles of true tropical climates that not only never see snow, but never see temperatures that would require people to wear clothes or blankets to keep warm. On the other hand, due to the difference in wind patterns from Earth, this land is largely too dry to be useful for large scale agriculture, even with irrigation, so settlements here are sparse and the population is still mostly aboriginal.

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

There is not much to fear in nature here. There are no volcanoes, no major earthquakes, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no blizzards, no sandstorms, no hailstorms, no floods, and no mudslides. Even thunderstorms only happen once a year or so. The biggest threat that comes from weather is really the lack of storms (i.e. drought) that they otherwise depend on to grow vegetables. But even then, they're right on the coast and it's not hard to find fish in the ocean even when the weather is terrible. Nor would the people suffer from malnutrition if they were forced to live on fish for a year or two.

What are the most commonly-grown foods?

Despite the abundance of fish available to them, the Goga diet consists primarily of fruits and vegetables. Most of these are grown inland, where the climate is warmer and sunnier, and then imported into the cities which are just a day's journey away. The farmers who grow these foods generally are not as wealthy as the urban Gogas despite government subsidies. But they are wealthier than the people who live by themselves without the subsidies.

What are the most commonly-eaten meats?

Gogans will eat pretty much anything except humans. They will even eat the meat of animals such as dolphins which on this world are sapient and have civilizations all their own without any human presence. The other animals do not like this, and sometimes attack Gogans and other Khulls settlements, but the Gogans are not pacifists and are well prepared for attack.

What foods are considered exotic or expensive?

Tropical fruits which cannot be grown natively (except in greenhouses with great difficulty). The Goga people prefer to buy from the Poswobs rather than the southern limits of their own empire. This is for political reasons; the other Khulls peoples are a threat to the Gogas; the Poswobs are not. Some people own greenhouses in which tropical fruits can be grown, but this is both expensive and delicate, since the glass can easily be smashed, ruining the entire year's crop in one minute.

Is there usually enough food and water for the population?

The Goga people generally rely on food imported from places nearby, though as above, they could live on fish if they were desperate (indeed the poorer segments of society already do). This is because they are primarily urban and have reached a population density far higher than the land is capable of supporting.

What is its most valuable resource?

Metals to make weapons and other machines used by other nations.

How many people live here?

The population is about 1 million (human), divided relatively evenly between the five nations that make up the Goga Alliance. Within these states, the vast majority of the population is urban, and the inland wilderness is so thinly settled that many of the local animals dont even know that the humans are there.

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

There are no true domesticated animals in the Goga Empire, or for that matter on planet Teppala. All sapient animals are self-sufficient and will deal with humans as equals and not as "subjects".

Questions of Sex and Family

How are families named? What happens to orphans?

The Gogans use a patronymic system similar to that of Earth; sometimes both parents' names will be put into the surname if it is a large city where there might be a lot of people with the same name.

How are boy and girl children treated differently?

The Gogans overthrew a Feminist-Pacifist government long ago, and have since then seen feminism as a backward trait associated mostly with people who are just barely earning enough to survive. Thus to them feminism is "conservative" and masculism is "modern". Gogans are also highly individualistic, much unlike Poswobs who seldom talk about anything smaller than a nuclear family. Thus men are generally more powerful than women in this society, and as children boys are considered more important. Nevertheless, they are put through a much tougher childhood than girls because they are the ones responsible for defending the nation and cannot be "sissies".

The rate of male-on-female violence, including rape, is the highest in the world. Many people in Goga blame this on the fact that they are largely surrounded by Moonshines and Poswobs, both tribes of people in which women are much taller than men, and within those tribes, men physically assaulting women is in many contexts considered acceptable because women are generally able to hold their own and win the fight. In Goga, men are pushed to be as strong as possible, and women are expected to be weak and helpless, which means that an average man can easily win a fight against four or five women. Yet the tall-female people have begun moving into Goga and many traits of their culture have spread to the native Gogans.

At first, Gogans were strictly protective of all women, and would arrest Poswob men for fighting with their girlfriends despite the obvious fact that the woman was stronger than her boyfriend. This quickly changed though because Poswob culture was seen as superior. The Gogans in many ways are trying to become Poswobs without undergoing, as Moonshines call it, "The Great Conspiracy" to put women fully in control of society.

What sexual habits are widely believed common among foriegners?

Pretty much any sexual deviation is associated with foreigners since they are seen as physically defective. That does not mean that they actually blame foreign influence for the presence of sexual deviancy among Gogans, however.

How do the genders dress?

Dress is similar to that of the modern West, though the fabrics are much more primitive. Goga has not really advanced anywhere beyond the poorer nations around it in terms of the technology of textile manufacture, other than when it comes to armor. Women are likely to wear skirts, and men will occasionally do so, though it is a trait commonly associated with the Sakhi people and therefore seen as somewhat unmanly because the Sakhi people are very short and physically weak. Form fitting pants are worn by both sexes at all ages.

What professions or activities are viewed as feminine?

Anything that lacks physical exertion or requires art-like esthetics (e.g. clothing design).

What is the biggest sexual taboo?

Rape and pedophilia, as in all the other nations. The frequency of rape (pedophile or otherwise) is far higher than one might expect for such a wealthy and privileged nation in part because of the lax attitude of the police force and the fact that children are often left alone for most of the day with no one to watch over them. Indeed, violent crime against children in general is a big problem in society, and often it is pure sadistic crime that doesn't benefit the perpetrator at all other than to watch people suffer.

Male homosexuality is allowed since there is little danger of war and thus there are always plenty of men to go around. Female homosexuality is seen as evil, not because of the sex itself but because it effectively removes 2 women from the gene pool.

Questions of War

Who are their enemies? Who's winning?

As said before, the Goga culture consists of five urban nations along the northwest coast of Rilola. But there was a sixth, even further west, known as "Wamia" (change this name NOW!!!It's been Wamia for 23 years!), that broke away for political reasons (a rare thing even in a developed society such as this; most conflicts were essentially just about ethnic loyalties). "Wamia" has a much more equitable income distribution than Goga, with every city and town averaging about 50 times the subsistence level in per capita income, whereas in Goga it is 200X in the cities and about 10-20X in the countryside. (and 1X in the adjacent states of the Poswob Empire)

Generally, Goga is winning, but they have never been able to actually conquer "Wamia" either, because "Wamia" is as well developed militarily as Goga is, and has more land available to it in the event it should ever be invaded. Also "Wamia" controls all of the ocean to the west of Neripi, including 600 miles of coastline that border the Goga land territory, so any invasion would likely have to take place along the difficult mountainous areas that separate them.

Questions of Art

What are the favorite artforms?

Art, in general, is discouraged in Neripi and the other Goga societies because it does not generally contribute to the economy. Theatre is flat-out illegal except as an amusement for children too young to be expected to work all day long. Local adults are allowed to watch the childern perform, since they most likely are the parents of them, but bringing the children to outside areas as though they were a money making business is not allowed. Sometimes the theatre can be an outlet for powerful emotions however. For example if a serious problem is threatening the society they will act it out in real life with children playing the parts of all humans so that the problem can be made to seem "cute" and unthreatening while simultaneously making people aware that it exists.

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

The natural look is preferred in essentially all situations, except for hairstyles which are often elaborate.