knowledge," which was "imaginary for legitimizing the expansionist
project."5 In other words, pursuing
South America in the name of expertise validated and united all U.S.
interests. Everything was done under the cloak of this discourse.
Salvatore goes on to explain the complex way in which "South America"
was constructed by different professionals and "interpretive communities"
via representational machines such as health organizations, newspapers,
books and travel agencies.6 In doing
so, he unveils the varied U.S. interests in the region that fell under
the "enterprise of knowledge." Health officials, journalists,
businessman, artists, travelers, labor organizers, and other such interest
groups all traveled to South America in pursuit of information. When
these people returned they presented their idea of South America through
representational machines. Hence "South America" became a
construction in North Americans' minds, invented by the interest groups
and professionals who wanted to create an image of South America in
the public's mind in order to further their own interests. This is an
exciting way of deconstructing the "U.S." because it breaks
down the monolithic idea of the U.S. into smaller interest groups, showing
that all of the U.S. was not involved in Latin America.
While Salvatore is not arguing against the dependency or imperialist
theories, his approach nonetheless has implications for them. He suggests
that these theories, with their focus on politics and economics, have
overlooked the other ways that the U.S. has intervened in Latin America.7
Furthermore, his "enterprise of knowledge" slant on U.S. interests
suggests that the U.S. interests were shaped first by a quest for knowledge,
rather than primarily by political or economic interests.