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.
Benno Herzog (University of Valencia)
Jens Maesse (University of Giessen)