- The Individual Is International: Discourses of the Personal in Catherine Bush's The Rules of Engagement and Canada's International Policy Statement
- University of Toronto Quarterly
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 78, Number 2, Spring 2009
- pp. 782-799
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article considers how ideas of the personal give meaning to global political engagements in Catherine Bush's 2000 novel The Rules of Engagement and in the 2005 Canadian foreign-policy statement, Canada's International Policy Statement: A Role of Pride and Influence in the World. Linking her experiences of violence with incidents of civil warfare, Bush's protagonist argues that such analogies humanize global politics, thereby rendering them personally meaningful. Similarly, the International Policy Statement symbolically places individual Canadians at the heart of policy, justifying government action as a manifestation of the national desire to ‘make a difference globally.' In both texts, however, these analogies of the personal and the political risk becoming acts of consumption, a means of saying something about ‘our' sympathy and benevolence; they thus tend towards a solipsism that fails to understand dialogue as an essential part of engagement with another.