Mathematical physicists have studied degenerations of Lie groups and their representations, which they call contractions. In this paper we study these contractions, and also other families, within the framework of algebraic families of Harish-Chandra modules. We construct a family that incorporates both a real reductive group and its compact form, separate parts of which have been studied individually as contractions. We give a complete classification of generically irreducible families of Harish-Chandra modules in the case of the family associated to SL(2, R).
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