The aim of the research is to reflect on the notion of political voice through the lens of the politics of Jacques Rancière. This reflection takes place against the background of the difficulty and complexity of issues surrounding the political voice of many South African women. The motivation behind the reflection on political voice arose out of concerns regarding the contradiction between the exemplary formal position of South African women and their lived realities as it pertains to the contexts of poverty and sexual violence that many women face and live in.
Since South Africa s transition to democracy, many activists and scholars have engaged with notions of gender equality along the lines of constitutional discourse, substantive equality and transformative constitutionalism. This research seeks an alternative understanding. I turn to the work of theorist, Jacques Rancière in order to consider possible alternatives and ways of thinking about the notion of voice. I explore his unique formulation of politics as well as other theoretical engagements in order to open up questions around the frameworks that determine the possibilities of political voicing and/or silencing.
The reflection also entails an exploration of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak s famous essay Can the Subaltern Speak . I analyse Spivak s essay along the lines of Jacques Rancière s formulation of politics in order to further make sense of what it means to have a political voice. I also read instances of political statements and historical and literary figures from the perspective of Rancière s politics. The aim is to contest and question current meanings of voice and to suggest that Jacques Rancière s postulations can provide valuable insight on issues of political voicing, silence, politics and equality.