Tragedy, Theodicy and 9/11: Rhetorical Responses To Suffering and Their Public Significance
Two general sorts of responses to the suffering caused by the 9/11 attacks are distinguishable in the statements of public officials, journalists, and citizens: one manifests a tragic sensibility, another takes the form of theodicy. Each response entails a distinctive set of expectations about the nature of political agency and solidarity in a democracy. With its claim of access to a transcendental form of truth, theodicy promises a robust sense of political solidarity and agency based on a shared religious belief. Tragic modes of appeal muster their consolatory effects by appealing to intuitions or taste rather than religious belief and therefore potentially remain open to more diverse public audiences.
"Tragedy, Theodicy and 9/11: Rhetorical Responses To Suffering and Their Public Significance."
Thesis Eleven, 98 (1): 5-32: Sage Publications.