Women as a Sign of the New? Appointments to South Africa's Constitutional Court since 1994


Johnson, Rachel E. 2014. “Women as a Sign of the New? Appointments to South Africa’s Constitutional Court since 1994.” Politics & Gender 10 (04): 595–621. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000439.

Author: Rachel E. Johnson


The aim of the article is to develop our understanding of the role bodies play in processes of institutional change. It does so through developing an approach to the politics of institutional newness that highlights the way in which raced and gendered bodies can become entangled with claims to, or judgements of, “being new.” These questions are explored through South Africa's Constitutional Court, newly established as part of South Africa's transition to democracy in the 1990s and at the center of the broader claims being made about the creation of a new democratic, nonracial, and non-sexist South Africa. Focusing on judicial appointments to the Constitutional Court since 1994, the article draws attention to the ways in which historically excluded bodies, women and black men, have been included into this new space within the judiciary. It is argued that exploring the ways in which institutions lay claim to “being new” through the bodies of historically excluded groups is important for our understanding of the dynamics of institutional change being constituted.

Topics: Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Constitutions, Elections, Post-Conflict Governance, Political Participation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2014

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