An English band, 1966-1973. Their debut (and arguably their finest hour)
Music in a Doll's House, co-produced by Traffic's Dave Mason, was a psychedelic mishmash of folkbluesrock, unified by the
voice(s) of Roger Chapman. It was downhill from there, but each record had its charms (fave: "Burlesque", from the later Bandstand). Along the way,
they lost bassists: Ric Grech joined Blind Faith, and John Wetton left for King Crimson III.

In linguistics, a parent language and all the languages and dialects descended from it.

A group of people distinguished by maddeningly complex systems of interrelationships, tolerances, and mutual acceptances of utterly irrational demands and desires developed over many, many years and resulting in a tangled web of existence that cannot ever be truly understood by an outsider and--frequently--by the family itself.

This dizzying weave--also called family ties--is among the most indestructable fabrics of human society. Tearing it can be terribly difficult and painful. Sometimes can form a handy safety net when the rest of society rejects you. See also Friends.

In the Three Domain taxonomy of life, Family is the sixth of the eight ranks:
  1. Domain
  2. Kingdom
  3. Phylum
  4. Class
  5. Order
  6. Family
  7. Genus
  8. Species

For Homo Sapiens (us), the family is Hominidae*:

* liveforever points out in his Primates writeup that the family grouping for Homo Sapiens is controversial, and is often filed under the Pongidae family along with the great apes.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

Season 5, Episode 6


Original Air Date: November 7, 2000

Willow and Tara are being cute in Willow's dorm room. It's nice to see that they actually have a relationship. Willow spends so much time talking about how she's "gay now", but Willow and Tara don't snuggle nearly as much as Buffy and Riley, or Xander and Anya.. But, I digress.. Tara mentions that she is practicing her witchcraft so that she can be more useful to the gang.

Buffy tells Giles about Dawn being the Key. They decide to keep Dawn's identity a secret from everyone else, and do their best to keep her safe.

Later on, everyone is helping move Buffy out of her dorm room. She's moving back home to help out now that her mom is sick. While Tara goes to take a box to the car, Willow reminds everyone to be at The Bronze at 8:00 tomorrow night, for Tara's birthday party.

Ben the hospital intern is changing in a locker room, when some very large and gross demon starts skulking towards him. Suddenly, Evil Blonde Girl puts her hand over the demon's mouth and tells it she needs a favor.

Back at the magic shop, Buffy and Xander complain about not knowing what to buy Tara for her birthday. There is a very disturbing clip of Spike fantasizing about fighting with Buffy, while actually in bed with Harmony. Well, whatever punches his buttons.... A large guy with a Southern accent comes into the magic shop and says vaguely insulting things about the books. Then, Tara comes in and it turns out that he is her older brother. The rest of Tara's family, her father and a female cousin, come in and are introduced. They leave abrubtly, after telling Tara they will meet her for dinner.

At her house, Buffy tries to keep Dawn from going out, but since she can't tell her the truth, fails miserably. Then, Buffy and Riley argue some more about Buffy not letting Riley in on her inner thoughts and feelings.

Tara comes back to her room to find her father going through her stuff. He yells at her for being open about her Wicca activities. He mentions something ominous having to do with Tara's upcoming 20th birthday, and asks her if she's told her friends the truth about herself. Eventually, he informs Tara she will be coming home with her family. Hmm.. Apparently, Tara has a big secret, and her dad is a super-creepy, control-freak.

Evil Blonde Girl directs the gross demon to find Buffy and kill her. Well, this is new.... not..

Tara sneaks in on the gang at the magic shop and casts some sort of spell on them.

Riley is at a bar, when a female vampire comes on to him. He turns her down. Harmony tells Spike about the demon that was recruited to kill Buffy. He hurries off, under the pretext of "watching the Slayer die".

Tara's cousin confronts Tara, who tells her that she's not coming home. Her cousin figures out about the spell, which Tara explains is to keep her friends from seeing her "demon part". Her cousin threatens to tell her father.

At the magic shop, a whole bunch of demons knock on the door. Willow answers, but doesn't see them, and closes the door in their faces. Eventually, the demons come in, and start attacking. Unfortunately, Tara's spell has rendered them invisible, so the gang is having trouble fighting back. Spike comes to help, and kills one of the demons, but he, too, is invisible to the gang, being part-demon.

At this point, Tara comes back and breaks the spell. Buffy finishes off the rest of the demons, but then Tara's family comes in. Tara's father explains that the women in Tara's family are part demon, and that Tara has to come home. There is a good deal of arguing, and eventually, Buffy puts her foot down. Spike settles the question by punching Tara in the nose. Since he immediately doubles over in pain, it is clear that Tara is not a demon. The whole story was a family legend created to keep the women in line.

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The Family and Sociology

The family was possibly the first social institution and is considered to be one of the more important ones. Its role in society is mostly discussed in social systems theories since these centre on how social institutions define people's actions.

Functionalist approaches to the family

Functionalism is a consensus-based approach to society, investigating the functions of the various social institutions and how they co-operate with each other. Over the years, various attempts have been made to define the family and its basic functions:

G. P. Murdock
The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.

The nuclear family is a universal social grouping ... [w]hatever larger family form may exist, and to whatever extent the greater unit may assume some of the burdens of the lesser, the nuclear family is always recognisable and always has its distinct and vital functions — sexual, economic, reproductive and educational.

Compared to the rather diverse nature of some families in more recent times — single parent families, cohabitating couples, etc. — this definition seems a little inaccurate. Changes in the structure of society also present problems to almost all attempts at defining the family by functionalists, as the number of functions performed by the family has reduced over time. For example, the family is no longer the major source of economic production as it was prior to the Industrial Revolution.

The reduction in the functions that the family performs is a result of social institutions becoming more specialised, a phenomenon known as functional differentiation. Talcott Parsons, a leading functionalist, described what he saw as the two "basic and irreducible" functions of the family:

Primary socialisation of children
Socialisation is the process by which we internalise the norms and values of the world around us. Primary socialisation is responsible for forming many of our identities, such as gender or ethnicity. Since it occurs early in life, the family is generally the institution responsible for it.
Personality stabilisation
Adults need emotional security and a source of release from the stresses of wider society. The emotional support of partners in marriage and indulging in childish behaviour with offspring provides this and prevents stress overwhelming the individual and threatening society's stability


There are various criticisms of functionalist approaches to the family:

  • They concentrate on the positive functions of the family.
  • They assume the family is of equal benefit to everyone.
  • They fail to consider alternatives to the family (such as the kibbutz)
  • There is little appreciation of the diverse family types within societies.

Marxist-Feminist views of the family

Marxists see the family as part of a superstructure of social institutions that serve the needs of and help to maintain capitalism, and perpetuates unequal power relations in society. The family helps to centre society on the concept of private ownership through inheritance. Throughout primary socialisation, the family imposes capitalist ideology on children, with authoritative parents teaching them to accept hierarchical social relationships and the exploitive nature of society. This means that in the modern capitalist state, the bourgeois employers do not need to rely as strongly on direct coercion as they did in the past, as new generations of accepting workers are produced.

The bourgeois family oppresses women, who, in addition to functioning as producers of children are also victims of the domestic division of labour. Women are expected to perform all the housework, thereby alleviating the breadwinning husband of this burden so he can work harder for his capitalist employer. If the housewife were paid for her labours, production costs would rise significantly. This perception of the man earning a "family wage" also means that employers can, in times of labour shortages, employ women for smaller sums of money without seeming unfair. As long as the image of women as housewives persists, the family will remain an obstacle to gender equality.

The family also provides an outlet for the frustrations of the returning worker who, often under pressure to work harder in poor conditions, finds a temporary escape at home. If such an escape takes a violent form, this is often at the expense of the wife and children.

Radical feminism

Radical feminists have similar views of the family as Marxist-Feminists, but they see it as upholding the patriarchy as opposed to an economic system. They do not see the solution as a socialist society but through women building an independent society to challenge patriarchy and the polarisation of gender roles. Since it upholds patriarchy, the family must be abolished or radically modified.

Criticisms of Marxist and feminist views

  • The family is again defined by the functions it performs, although in this sense it is how it upholds capitalism/patriarchy. This suffers from the same flaw as functionalism in that it does not recognise different family structures.
  • They are too negative. For example, it is often argued by Marxists that those women who are satisfied as housewives are subject to a "false consciousness". Opponents suggest that they are genuinely happy.
  • Whilst lamenting the failures of the family, no viable alternative is given. Attempts in the USSR were abandoned as impractical.
  • Various members of the "New Right" (in British sociology textbooks, at least) have criticised radical feminists for undermining the family as they see the nuclear family's stability as fundamental to the structure of society and its decline as responsible for increases in crime and delinquency.

(So far) In this node I have not covered trends in the family or any of the other stuff I'm going to have to learn for my impending sociology examinations. However, I do feel like highlighting one aspect that I found interesting:

The Industrial Revolution and the family

It is generally accepted (I accepted it at least) that the family in pre-industrial society was bigger than in industrialised society. The entire extended family lived together and made baskets. As the industrial revolution progressed, the youth uprooted and went into the big city, shunning the cautionary advice of their elders, and spent the rest of their lives inhaling smoke whilst stuffing their children up chimneys. This is a myth.

In 1965, Peter Laslett's "The World We Have Lost", which studied church records, concluded "that household size was remarkably constant in England at 4.75 persons per household at all times from the late 16th until the early 20th century". This is the size of your typical nuclear family. The reasons for this were not the same as the reasons for the prevalence of the nuclear family today. It's well known that people died young. However, people would not marry unless they were capable of setting up their own family (and, of course, children outside marriage was out of the question) and so often married late. As a result, only two generations tended to be alive at any one time. There was, however, a greater sense of community, with many families having to share resources and helping each other when harvest time came along.

Instead, the extended family was more important in early industrial society. Life expectancy increased, so there was more of an extended family to speak of. Family members would often rely on each other to get a job and accommodation in the city and also to help during periods of unemployment and illness. The increasingly complex extended families tended to remain in one area and so came into contact with each other regularly, so increasing their importance.

What is a family?

It is the basic unit of society, which plays a vital role in the growth, and development of children. Traditionally it is a group of people who live together and are related by birth (blood), adoption or marriage. Nowadays many couples co-habit, which means that they live together, as a family but are not married or with children. Family structures can change a lot over the years that they are together – different families have different types of family structures, it just depends on the family itself.

Nuclear Families.

These families consist of parents and children who live together in a home separate from the rest of their family. There are many reasons for this but main ones are that parents have had to move away to get the jobs they want or moving means they can send their children to better schools or afford a better home for their family. Being a nuclear family means that the parents do not have their own parents telling them how to raise their children, which can be seen as an advantage to the parents. However, children may not have a close relationship with their grandparents and feel like they are missing out on something – with no grandparents parents have no one to rely on for babysitting at short notice either. When being part of a nuclear family the family have to be careful that they make an effort to keep in touch with the rest of their family as they won’t see them as often as they would if they lived close to them.

Extended Families.

Similar to nuclear families but extended – made bigger! They are made bigger by the addition of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They are live in the same house or live very close to each other and meet up on a regular basis. As there are many people around at all times the parents have someone to help them out whenever they need it when bringing up their children. However, this could be seen more of a burden if the parents do not feel they have chance to bring their children up the way they actually want too. When living, as part of extended family, parents and children must be careful that they appreciate the help they are given but also know how to decline it without upsetting other members of the family as this could lead to great friction within the family unit.

Step Families.

This is formed when a couple, at least one of who has one or more children, marry or co-habit. This relationship may then results in more children being born; these children then become stepsiblings to one and another. It is said that every one in ten children are part of a stepfamily. A stepfamily may mean that the children have a better quality of life because the parents are generally happier with their new partners than they were in their previous relationship. However, stepfamilies can come with problems too, children may resent each other or their parents new partner meaning that they all find it hard to bond together as a proper family unit.

Single Parent Families.

The vast majority of single parents are mothers who bring up their children alone. It has been said that more than one in four children are part of a single parent family. Families can become single parent families for a number of reasons; these can include imprisonment, death of a parent, divorce or separation, absence of a parent due to work commitments and, in some cases, single parent adoption. Being a single parent can have some clear advantages such as the parent has the ability to bring the child up in the way they chose without hassle from their partner. Children may also be happier if they have been removed from a stressful situation and find one happy parent is much better than two unhappy parents. However, children can lack a role model if one of there is absent – an absent second parent also means a strain on the parent in charge in a number of ways. The parent has to support their child and this can be hard work physically, financially and emotionally.

Shared Care Families.

The divorce or separation of parents may mean that children are forced to leave in two different households so that they get the chance to spend time with both their mum and dad. This therefore means that their everyday care and general up bringing remains the responsibility of both parents equally. Children may feel a lot happier with this situation because both their parents are pleased to see them, however, parents must make sure they let their child know they are very welcome whenever they visit so they do not feel left out.

Adoptive Families.

Adoption provides a permanent home for a child whose parents are unable to provide them with any stability. Adoptive parents come from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds and must undergo an extensive and rigorous procedure to ensure they are suitable to adoption children. When an adoption is finalised in court the adoptive parents assume all the rights and responsibilities of the birth parents. Once the child is settled the child usually takes their new family’s name so that they feel like a proper part of the family.

Foster Families.

There are many different reasons why children cannot be looked after by their natural parents and so are placed with a foster family – this situation can be short and long term fostering depending on the child’s situation. Foster parents come in a number of different shapes and sizes – they maybe married, single, co-habiting with people of either sex and with or without their own children. The parents have to be thoroughly checked to make sure that they are deemed suitable carers by the social services. Once this has been decided the social services will then put the parent through some form of training to prepare them. When children are put into their care they will be paid by the local authority and supported by the social services who will have legal responsibility for them. Foster children are normally encouraged to maintain contact with their birth families with the aim that they can be reunited.

The Changing Structure of Families.

Families change frequently as people and circumstances change and children grow older and more responsible. There are many reasons for the changing family structure and these are mostly because of how we have changed as a nation. Couples now expect a certain lifestyle, having a totally different attitude to family life and children to that of their parents. People are now choosing to marry at a later age, which means that their children are also born later too. Divorce is now easier to do and happens a lot more frequently, which means that family structures can be torn apart rather quickly. We have become socially and morally more acceptant of co-habitation, pregnancy outside marriage and single parent families, meaning that a ‘normal’ family isn’t so ‘normal’ anymore.

Family Roles.

Roles within families differ enormously now and are becoming more complex and confusing especially after divorce, remarriage or when people chose to co-habit. Many families still follow the traditional roles of family life – where mum cleans and looks after the children and dad earns money and fixes the car. However, these roles can be reversed as now many women earn more than their partners. In some cases, though, both parents share the roles surrounding their family life equally making everything a lot fairer. Sexual roles are determined by nature (our genes) and nurture (the environment in which a child is brought up). It is a debatable point which of the two has the greatest influence on a person but both are important to a person’s life.

The Petermans had a red-brown VW pickup truck. It was little. We rode in the pickup truck up to their house. The road was winding, and Nancy was used to driving it.

“Roll down your window, and put your hand out.” She slowed down. Nancy was Randy and Eddie’s mom. She didn’t wear makeup. She wouldn’t let us say we didn’t like something; we were supposed to say “I don’t care for it.” I found this confusing. What would it be like to care for spelt bread?

“If you watch the road, you’ll feel better.”

In the clearing before the house, you saw the pond, which looked like a place you would fish, but I never saw anyone fishing. I pictured Randy as Huck Finn, with a straw of wheat between his teeth, wearing a pair of overalls, holding a green branch with fishing line strung across it. Even though they lived on a farm off the grid, the Petermans were not the kind of people who wore overalls or spoke with Southernish accents.

The house was two stories tall. Randy and Eddie and Laura and I slid down the carpeted stairs on our bottoms. On the wall above the stairs were family photos: the pastor and his wife; their children; their grandchildren: Randy and Eddie and Becky and Sam and Joel. The photos were faded yellow and orange from the sunlight. We were not on the wall above the stairs. The Petermans were my family, and I didn’t understand that I was not theirs.

Our pastor played the saw. His saw was painted with a landscape in oil paints by his wife. He put the handle of the saw between his knees, and he always made the same joke as he was beginning to play; he curved the saw and pulled the bow across it once, as if he were just now discovering that it sounded like music. The saw notes warbled. He whistled along.

The house smelled like warm grains and Lava soap. My sisters and I, when we spent the night, slept in the bedroom with the trundle bed and two west-facing windows. In the hall was a poster of a kid with a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on his head, crying. We called the boy “Eddie Spaghetti” and we called Eddie “Eddie Spaghetti,” but they were not the same boy. In another bedroom was a secret closet, filled with games and a doll house. We crouched in the closet and played house. We were grownups, and Randy married Laura, and I married Eddie. We had to marry when we grew up. We were the right age, and it was inevitable.

from The Book of Revelation

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Uncle John was helping me
tend to the barbecue.
'Not like that, like this' he said
He helpfully snatched the fork
Seared the meat
Stirred the sauce
Stoked the coals.
'You gotta be careful with chicken' said John.

As John inspected and sniffed, I
Slammed his head into the grill and
Smashed the lid down
Skin burst and crackled
Sweetmeat steam wafted cross the lawn
and people danced to his screams.

We dined on his smug head that night
picking his skull clean
and remarking on the emptiness inside.
'John would have liked this' said his wife
as she stretched out and farted in a deckchair.
We all agreed he had been a royal cunt
and started digging a hole for his headless corpse
Like a real family.

Fam"i*ly (?), n.; pl. Families (#). [L. familia, fr. famulus servant; akin to Oscan famel servant, cf. faamat he dwells, Skr. dhaman house, fr. dhato set, make, do: cf. F. famille. Cf. Do, v. t., Doom, Fact, Feat.]


The collective body of persons who live in one house, and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children, and servants, and, as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.


The group comprising a husband and wife and their dependent children, constituting a fundamental unit in the organization of society.

The welfare of the family underlies the welfare of society. H. Spencer.


Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe, clan, or race; kindred; house; as, the human family; the family of Abraham; the father of a family.

Go ! and pretennd your family is young. Pope.


Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors; lineage.


Honorable descent; noble or respectable stock; as, a man of family.


A groupe of kindred or closely related individuals; as, a family of languages; a family of States; the chlorine family.

7. Biol.

A groupe of organisms, either animal or vegetable, related by certain points of resemblance in structure or development, more comprehensive than a genus, because it is usually based on fewer or less pronounced points of likeness. In zoology a family is less comprehesive than an order; in botany it is often considered the same thing as an order.

Family circle. See under Circle. -- Family man. (a) A man who has a family; esp., one who has a wife and children living with him andd dependent upon him. (b) A man of domestic habits. "The Jews are generally, when married, most exemplary family men." Mayhew. -- Family of curves ∨ surfaces Geom., a group of curves or surfaces derived from a single equation. -- In a family way, like one belonging to the family. "Why don't we ask him and his ladies to come over in a family way, and dine with some other plain country gentlefolks?" Thackeray. -- In the family way, pregnant. [Colloq.]


© Webster 1913.

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