The Clash Takes on the World

The Clash Takes on the World: Transnational Perspectives on The Only Band that Matters

by Samuel Cohen

Samuel Cohen is Associate Professor of English at the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA. He is the author of After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s and co-editor of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace. He is also Series Editor of the New American Canon: The Iowa Series in Contemporary Literature and Culture, co-editor of JMMLA, and author of Fifty Essays: A Portable Anthology and Literature: The Human Experience. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and James Peacock

James Peacock is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literatures at Keele University, UK. His articles on contemporary American fiction have appeared in Journal of American Studies, English and Critique. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-5013-1733-0 (hardback)

    978-1-5013-1734-7 (epdf)

    978-1-5013-1735-4 (epub)

    978-1-5013-1736-1 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
  • Published Online:
The Clash Takes on the World
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On their debut, The Clash famously claimed to be "bored with the USA," but The Clash wasn't a parochial record. Mick Jones' licks on songs such as "Hate and War" were heavily influenced by classic American rock and roll, and the cover of Junior Murvin's reggae hit "Police and Thieves" showed that the band's musical influences were already wide-ranging. Later albums such as Sandinista! and Combat Rock saw them experimenting with a huge range of musical genres, lyrical themes and visual aesthetics. The Clash Takes on the World explores the transnational aspects of The Clash's music, lyrics and politics, and it does so from a truly transnational perspective. It brings together literary scholars, historians, media theorists, musicologists, social activists and geographers from Europe and the US, and applies a range of critical approaches to The Clash's work in order to tackle a number of key questions: How should we interpret their negotiations with reggae music and culture? How did The Clash respond to the specific socio-political issues of their time, such as the economic recession, the Reagan-Thatcher era and burgeoning neoliberalism, and international conflicts in Nicaragua and the Falkland Islands? How did they reconcile their anti-capitalist stance with their own success and status as a global commodity? And how did their avowedly inclusive, multicultural stance, reflected in their musical diversity, square with the experience of watching the band in performance? The Clash Takes on the World is essential reading for scholars, students and general readers interested in a band whose popularity endures.