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Benno Herzog
En: Journal of Multicultural Discourse Studies
Publication year: 2021

Against common understanding of ideology as being a specific form of knowledge or cognition, lately there is a rediscovering of the notion of ideology as practice. In these approaches, ideology is understood as a practice that ultimately contravenes its own intentions or normative claims. This understanding is already mentioned in Marx’ famous dictum: ‘They do not know it, but they are doing it’. The aim of this article is to understand certain practices of discourse production that can produce discursive and material effects contradictory to the practice itself. Therefore, I will first explore a Marxist notion of ideology as it is lately rediscovered by diverse strands of critical theory and that understands ideology as a practice, although not disattending the cognitive aspects of ideologies. I will then show how this concept of ideology connects well with the idea of discourse as speech act and communicative practice. Some examples mainly from discourses on migration and racism will exemplify the fertility of this approach. The research can help to overcome the pitfalls of some discursive practices especially in public communications.