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The Clash, the dawn of neoliberalism and the political promise of punk
Editor: Colin Coulter

There are few bands that have enjoyed as much adoration or endured as much criticism as The Clash. Emerging originally as a principal voice in the burgeoning mid-1970s London punk scene, The Clash would soon cast off the fetters that restricted many of their peers, their musical tastes becoming ever more eclectic and their political field of vision ever more global. In the process, the band would widen the cultural and political horizons of their audience and would for many come to exemplify the power of popular music to change minds. While The Clash would attract a great deal of critical acclaim, this would always be less than universal. In the eyes of their many detractors, the radical political stance of the band was little more than self-mythologising posture, neatly serving the culture industries in their perennial goal of ‘turning rebellion into money’. In this collection, scholars working out of very different contexts and academic traditions set out to examine this most complex and controversial of bands. Across a dozen original essays, the authors provide fresh insights into the music and politics of The Clash in ways that are by turns both critical and celebratory. While the book seeks to locate the band in their own time and place, it also underlines their enduring and indeed very contemporary significance. A common thread running though the essays here is that the songs The Clash wrote four decades ago to document a previous, pivotal moment of geopolitical transformation have a remarkable resonance in our own current moment of prolonged global turbulence. Written in a style that is both scholarly and accessible, Working for the clampdown offers compelling and original takes on one of the most influential and incendiary acts ever to grace a stage.

Music and malandragem in the city
Lorraine Leu

narrative, and its visual and musical treatment of samba, Berlim na batucada rejected the symbolic economy of space generated by the state and the culture industry. Sharon Zukin describes a city’s symbolic economy as ‘its visible ability to produce both symbols and space’ ( 1995 : 2). This is fuelled by the growth of cultural consumption and the industries that cater to it. Like Berlim na batucada , Carlos Diegues’s 1966 film

in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
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Ian Goodyer

outside of the workplace. The activists who founded RAR were therefore not simply pursuing their own enthusiasms, they were also – consciously or not – compensating for the lack of a powerful industrial challenge to racism and fascism. Besides defining RAR’s relationship with the British left, I also want to suggest how the organisation developed a cultural politics that accepted the necessity of engaging with the products of the capitalist ‘culture industry’, without succumbing to the pacifying effects of what Marxists term ‘commodity fetishism’. To elucidate my

in Crisis music
An introduction
Colin Coulter

entailed the collapse of a sequence of cultural barriers, and not least those that once marked the boundaries between distinct historical periods.85 Over several decades, the culture industries have sought increasingly to purloin styles and personalities from the past and to splice and recycle these as commodities in what can barely summon the energy to call itself the present. The impact of this form of blank parody or ‘pastiche’, Jameson suggests, has been the debilitating historical amnesia that finds expression in an ever more ubiquitous and oppressive tendency

in Working for the clampdown
America’s last frontier hero in the age of Reaganite eschatology and beyond
Linnie Blake

beans and a nice Chianti’ was voted the twenty-first most famous line in cinema history by the American Film Institute.4 But as this chapter will argue, the iconic Lecter’s true significance lay in the ways he allowed contemporary audiences to engage psychologically and socio-culturally with the historic traumas of the Reagan years while exposing the ideological mediation of that trauma by all aspects of the culture industry. It would be a mistake though, to believe that the cultural iconicity of Lecter is without precedent, for as this chapter will further indicate

in The wounds of nations
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The Clash, Bologna and Italian punx
Giacomo Bottà and Ferruccio Quercetti

The political disposition of The Clash was a matter that divided opinion from the very outset. For their fans, it was the songs that the band crafted together that provided the spark for an entirely different viewpoint on the world. For their detractors, in contrast, the group were often considered to be merely another cog in the machine of the culture industries, and were, therefore, part of the problem rather than the solution. In this chapter, the authors focus on one particular moment when these countervailing readings of The Clash came into sharp relief. In the summer of 1980 the band played a free outdoor concert in the centre of Bologna. While the gig drew an enormous audience of enthusiastic fans, it was also the setting for protests from local radicals self-styled as punx. The chapter traces these threads through the recollections of some of those who were associated in different ways with the Bologna concert. Their disparate renditions of what happened that night and its significance offer some insight into the enduring facility of The Clash to mean entirely different things to different people.

in Working for the clampdown
Jason Toynbee

This chapter seeks to examine the turbulent political context in which The Clash recorded their enduring body of work. The songs that the band crafted together provide a compelling account of the rise and ultimate triumph of the neoliberal project as the 1970s turned into the 1980s. While The Clash were one of the critical voices raised against this dramatic turn to the right, their political power was always compromised by their proximity to a corporate world they claimed to despise. As many bands before and since have learned, the culture industries have a facility for incorporation that diminishes the political valence and authenticity of even the most critical artists. In spite of the constraints of the corporate environment in which they were operating, however, The Clash wrote scores of songs that have retained a political resonance even today. The political power of the band derives ironically from previous cultural movements that they often claimed to loathe. In large measure, the enduring influence of The Clash comes from their rechanneling of the 1960s counterculture and the band should be seen then as heirs to that prior movement of radical cultural dissent.

in Working for the clampdown
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Thomas Osborne

Miserabilism and hope – Dialectics – Paradoxes – Principles and themes – Counter-heteronomics: an overview – Culture industry – Jazz and jazzness – Dependency – Authoritarianism – High art – Liquidations – Autonomy – Postmodernism – Benjamin – Ethics and educationality It is commonplace to invoke Theodor Adorno as probably the greatest Marxist cultural theorist of the twentieth century. If there is any reason to read him in the twenty-first century, however, this is as much for ethical as for respectable Marxist reasons. At one stage of

in The structure of modern cultural theory
Youth, pop and the rise of Madchester
Author: Steve Redhead

Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.

This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.

Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement
Author: Paddy Hoey

Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism.

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence.

Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles.

This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.