, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 308–318 | Cite as

Heroic Action and Its Discontents: Safe Horizon’s Response to 9/11

  • Renée C. FoxEmail author
  • Victor M. Lidz
  • Helen E. Sheehan
  • Barrett P. Brenton
  • Heike Thiel de Bocanegra
Symposium: Public Dilemmas Revisited


Based on first-hand qualitative research, this article describes and analyzes the significant role that a local, New York City-based social service agency played in responding to 9/11; the sources of its notable ability to provide assistance to individuals and families affected by this terrorist attack; and the structural strains and unanticipated divisions within the agency that the heroism of its fervid engagement nevertheless engendered.


9/11 Victims services Heroic action Heroization Hierarchy of attention 

Further Reading

  1. Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H., Kilpatrick, D., Bucuvalis, M., Gold, J., et al. 2002. Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(13), 982–987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Garfinkel, I., Kaushal, N., Teitler, J., & Garcia, N. 2005. Vulnerability and resilience: New Yorkers Respond to 9/11. In N. Foner (Ed.), Wounded City; The social impact of 9/11. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Langewiesche, W. 2003. American ground; unbuilding the world trade center. New York: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  4. New York United Way, Web site, accessed January 10, 2008.Google Scholar
  5. Nussbaum, M. 2002. Compassion and terror. Daedalus, Winter Issue, p. 16.Google Scholar
  6. Project Liberty, Web site, accessed January 11, 2008.Google Scholar
  7. Taylor, C. 1989. Sources of the self. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Thiel de Bocanegra, H., Molaskenko, S., & Kramer, E. 2006. PTSD, Depression, prescription drug use, and health care utilization of Chinese workers affected by the WTC attacks. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 8(3), 203–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Vlahov, D., Galea, S., Resnick, H., Ahern, J., Boscarino, J. A., Bucuvalis, M., et al. 2002. Increased use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana among Manhattan, New York residents after the September 11 terrorist attacks. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155(11), 988–996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Williams, R. 2002. Writing in the dust: After September 11. Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renée C. Fox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Victor M. Lidz
    • 2
  • Helen E. Sheehan
    • 3
  • Barrett P. Brenton
    • 4
  • Heike Thiel de Bocanegra
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Addiction Treatment and Research, Department of PsychiatryDrexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.South Asian StudiesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sociology and AnthropologySt. John’s University-QueensNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.UCSF Family PACT Program Support and Evaluation, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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