Hear author Gérôme Truc on Shell-shocked: The Social Response to Terrorist Attacks

Author / sociologist Gérôme Truc dissects our response to terrorist attacks.

Author / sociologist Gérôme Truc dissects our response to terrorist attacks.

Whenever they occur, terrorist attacks elicit expressions of grief and solidarity from millions of people around the world. Why do so many feel intimately connected to events they may not have experienced personally?

Sociologist Gérôme Truc draws from his field work in cities targeted by terrorism to better understand the impact of terrorism on contemporary societies.

Gérôme Truc is a tenured research fellow at the CNRS and Member of the Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique. He teaches at the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay. Truc’s work focuses primarily on social reactions to terrorist attacks with particular attention to moral and political sociology. He also wrote, Assumer l’humanité. Hannah Arendt: la responsabilité face à la pluralité (Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles, 2008

Shell Shocked movie poster

Break-through book: Shell Shocked explains contemporary societies’ response to the impact of terrorism.

“Je suis Charlie.” Revisiting how ordinary individuals lived through, and responded to, the attacks of 9/11, of 11 March 2004 in Madrid and 7 July 2005 in London, the author of Shell-shocked sheds new light on these events. Analyzing the political language and the media images — the demonstrations of solidarity and the minutes of silence, as well as the tens of thousands of messages addressed to the victims — Truc reveals the vast ambiguity of our feelings about the Islamist attacks. And he brings out the sources of the solidarity that, in our individualistic societies, finds expression in the first person singular, rather than the first person plural: ‘I am Charlie’, ‘I am Paris.’

Like many who lived through one of these cataclysms, I remain residually shell shocked, and drawn to the subject. If that’s how you feel, (re)visit the 9/11 Memorial (Museum Auditorium, Atrium Terrace Level) to hear and question a sociologist who’s studied the subject in new depth. Details: Link via the red Calendar button below.

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