Edited by Lyndon C.S. Way
[Journal of Language and Politics 18:4] 2019
► pp. 509–525
From Ireland to the States
The re-contextualisation of U2’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” in different political contexts
In this article I start from an understanding of songs as socio-cultural discourses which may also perform a political function. This political function can be reflected in the promotion of particular world-views about given socio-political events and/or in the attempt by the singer to make the audience perform given political actions. To prove this, I will look at the re-contextualisation process undergone by a well-known song by U2: “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (1983). This song was originally written to respond to the violence of the Northern Irish conflict, but it has been later used to react to other socio-political events. By relying on a cognitive approach to the study of songs, this paper tries to answer two questions: (i) how can we explain the re-contextualisation process undergone by the song and why is it possible? and (ii) how is politics embedded in musical performances?