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Statement of the American Sociological Association on the September 11 Terrorist Attack

On behalf of the American Sociological Association (ASA), the ASA Council expresses its profound grief at the shocking terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and great sadness on the enormous loss of life in these incidents and the crash of the hijacked jet in Pennsylvania last week. The Association leadership extends its most sincere sympathies to the victims and their families on their terrible losses and injuries in this great national tragedy. The ASA is also deeply grateful for the prodigious efforts of the rescue workers, civic leaders, and the many professionals who have brought their leadership, skills, and capacities to bear in responding to this great crisis.

Enormous challenges and great uncertainties lie ahead—from how to unravel the events leading up to these criminal acts, how to respond to these and future threats, how to cope with the traumas and fears generated by these events, to how to ensure the peace and security of our society without surrendering basic liberties. Sociologists have made contributions in different areas that can add significantly to public understanding of these events and to healing communities and our nation. Sociological studies have examined hate crime, the effects of disasters on health, coping mechanisms in face of major threats, communal bereavement, predictors of violence, social movements and collective behavior that lead to violence—to name but a few of these areas. The contextual conditions in societies (in the U.S. and in other countries) leading to use of violence and terror have been examined from a social perspective. As citizens of this nation and of the world, sociologists are committed to contributing their knowledge and skills to ensure recovery from these destructive acts.

Through its Public Information Office, the ASA provides information to journalists and others who seek information about sociological works and sociologists with expertise in specific areas. The Public Information Office also regularly posts such information on the newswires and on its homepage.

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