Discursive Practices and the Role of Ideology: Discourse Studies Meets Critical Theory
In Discourse Studies, discourse is usually understood as the use of texts in various sorts ofcontexts (situational, historical, structural, institutional). From these practices of meaning production, different aspects of the social such as identities, believes, attitudes, institutions, social structures and new text production emerge. Despite this broad notion of discourse, the notion of ideology is often understood as sets of collective beliefs or mental representations.
In contrast to such approaches, which see ideology as immaterial beliefs, in the last decade we observe a return of ideology critique in social and political philosophy, sociology and cultural studies. These interventions are considering specifically the material and practical dimensions of ideologies. Ideologies are seen therefore less as set of beliefs and representations but as practices related to an unsustainable social order and dominating power relations. Even if critical theory and discourse analysis have pointed to the crucial role of ideological aspects, both tendencies need deeper exchange and discussions on the role of ideology, discourse and materiality.
Our understanding of ideology tries to bring together the analysis of society, understood as exploitive social order, with the analysis of practices that systematically reproduce this social order. Ideologies emerge from special contextualities as long as they relate texts to particular contexts, namely inequalities, exclusions and power structures. They contribute the reproduction of social order and ideological relations are at work in social struggles of change over hegemonic constellations as well.
In this special issue we want to bring together critical discourse studies and critical theory in order to focus on the ideological dimensions of power, domination, inequality and injustices that are related to discourse production. In particular, the contributions of this special issue reflect on the material conditions of discourse productions. The authors will elaborate how language is related to the formation of hierarchies in discourses on gender, race and social class. We will furthermore elaborate how subject positions and subjectivities are formed by discourses in an unequal socio-material space, and we will reflect on the ideological role in these processes. A third group of contributions will discuss the relationship between ideology and critique.
The research papers may include the following topics:
- Update the notion of ideology and ideology critique bringing together social and political philosophy with discourse studies.
- Articulate critical procedures to understand the complexity of ideology.
- Discussion of the cultural nature and cultural diversity of ideology.
- Focus specifically on the material conditions and practical effects of ideology.
- Analyze the specific roles and functions of the ideological in different discourse setting
The editors are founding members of the international and interdisciplinary research group Discourse, Ideology and Political Economy (DIPE). Together they edited a special issue of Critical Discourse Studies on Marx and Discourse Studies and organized several winterschools and other academic events.
Johannes Beetz (j.beetz[at]warwick.ac.uk) is a doctoral researcher at the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick. He studied sociology, philosophy, and American studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany. His research interests include Critical Theory & Marxism, Discourse Studies, and Post-Structuralist Theory. His publications include Materiality and Subject in Marxism, (Post-)Structuralism, and Material Semiotics(Palgrave 2016) and Material Discourse, Materialist Analysis – Approaches in Discourse Studies (with Veit Schwab, Lexington
Benno Herzog (Benno.Herzog[at]uv.es) is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, University of Valencia, Spain. He has worked and conducted research in Germany (Universities of Frankfurt and Mainz), the United Kingdom (University of Manchester, Open University, and
University of Warwick), and Brazil (Federal University of Paraíba). His research focuses on social critique and critical theory of society, discourse theory and discourse analysis, and migration and discrimination. His latest book is Discourse Analysis as Social Critique(Palgrave
Jens Maesse (Jens.Maesse[at]sowi.uni-giessen.de), Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Giessen. His research focus is on discourse analysis, sociology of science and education, economic sociology and political economy. His publications include: “Austerity discourses in Europe: How economic experts create identity projects”, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 31(1): 8-24 (2018). “The elitism dispositif. Hierarchization, discourses of excellence and organisational change in European economics”, Higher Education 73, 909-927 (2017).