Although the critique of reification is a core commitment of critical theories, there is no widely accepted account of its normative foundation. In Lukács’s original analysis, this foundation is provided by a strong concept of practice which is, however, not acceptable from a contemporary point of view. I argue that the systematic character of reification theory can only be upheld if this concept is replaced by a more intersubjective notion of normative practices. Reification can then be analysed as a second-order pathology of social practices, as an inhibition of reflexivity by their normative shape. The normative justification of such critique, however, turns out to be more context-dependent than it is usually imagined.