Tragedy and Catharsis in the Wake of the 911 Attacks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We argue that the events of 11 September 2001 (911) should be understood as a tragedy in the Greek sense of the term. Contemporary US views of tragedy typically communicate a sense that little can be done to predict or explain catastrophic events. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Accordingly, traditional US psychological interventions focus upon ameliorative efforts only. In Greek notions of tragedy, however, the hero(ine) has a character flaw that contributes to his/her demise. Lessons are learned, and catharsis results. From the standpoint of the US as a tragic hero, psychological interventions should be both ameliorative and preventative. We contend that this overemphasis on ameliorative work and the limited views of terrorism's root causes are counterproductive. Indeed, we recommend that individual US psychologists and the American Psychological Association leadership engage in both ameliorative efforts and broadly conceived preventative work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

Fingerprint

Catharsis
psychological intervention
Psychology
event
September 11, 2001
psychologist
Terrorism
terrorism
leadership
cause
Emotions

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

@article{40b01ded58624d049e59943f65758908,
title = "Tragedy and Catharsis in the Wake of the 911 Attacks",
abstract = "We argue that the events of 11 September 2001 (911) should be understood as a tragedy in the Greek sense of the term. Contemporary US views of tragedy typically communicate a sense that little can be done to predict or explain catastrophic events. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Accordingly, traditional US psychological interventions focus upon ameliorative efforts only. In Greek notions of tragedy, however, the hero(ine) has a character flaw that contributes to his/her demise. Lessons are learned, and catharsis results. From the standpoint of the US as a tragic hero, psychological interventions should be both ameliorative and preventative. We contend that this overemphasis on ameliorative work and the limited views of terrorism's root causes are counterproductive. Indeed, we recommend that individual US psychologists and the American Psychological Association leadership engage in both ameliorative efforts and broadly conceived preventative work.",
author = "Ken Kyle and Angelique, {Holly L.}",
year = "2002",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/casp.686",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "12",
pages = "369--374",
journal = "Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology",
issn = "1052-9284",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "5",

}

Tragedy and Catharsis in the Wake of the 911 Attacks. / Kyle, Ken; Angelique, Holly L.

In: Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 12, No. 5, 01.09.2002, p. 369-374.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Tragedy and Catharsis in the Wake of the 911 Attacks

AU - Kyle, Ken

AU - Angelique, Holly L.

PY - 2002/9/1

Y1 - 2002/9/1

N2 - We argue that the events of 11 September 2001 (911) should be understood as a tragedy in the Greek sense of the term. Contemporary US views of tragedy typically communicate a sense that little can be done to predict or explain catastrophic events. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Accordingly, traditional US psychological interventions focus upon ameliorative efforts only. In Greek notions of tragedy, however, the hero(ine) has a character flaw that contributes to his/her demise. Lessons are learned, and catharsis results. From the standpoint of the US as a tragic hero, psychological interventions should be both ameliorative and preventative. We contend that this overemphasis on ameliorative work and the limited views of terrorism's root causes are counterproductive. Indeed, we recommend that individual US psychologists and the American Psychological Association leadership engage in both ameliorative efforts and broadly conceived preventative work.

AB - We argue that the events of 11 September 2001 (911) should be understood as a tragedy in the Greek sense of the term. Contemporary US views of tragedy typically communicate a sense that little can be done to predict or explain catastrophic events. This leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Accordingly, traditional US psychological interventions focus upon ameliorative efforts only. In Greek notions of tragedy, however, the hero(ine) has a character flaw that contributes to his/her demise. Lessons are learned, and catharsis results. From the standpoint of the US as a tragic hero, psychological interventions should be both ameliorative and preventative. We contend that this overemphasis on ameliorative work and the limited views of terrorism's root causes are counterproductive. Indeed, we recommend that individual US psychologists and the American Psychological Association leadership engage in both ameliorative efforts and broadly conceived preventative work.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036377478&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036377478&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/casp.686

DO - 10.1002/casp.686

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:0036377478

VL - 12

SP - 369

EP - 374

JO - Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

SN - 1052-9284

IS - 5

ER -