Afterword: Mortgage Markets and the Urban Problematic in the Global Transition


This afterword develops one argument about, and then engages in two dialogues with, this symposium on the subprime crisis and the mortgage market. First, it argues that these articles have a unifying theme: they all insist that any understanding of the evolution of the subprime crisis must take into account the role of the complex, racialized dynamics of social inequality in urban space. This perspective, which we term the ‘urban problematic’, is shared by the authors gathered here; however, it is notably absent from many other accounts of the origins of the subprime crisis. This leads to two dialogues with these articles. The first explores this question: if this problematic is so powerful, then why isn’t it pervasive in all social‐scientific and economic discussions of the subprime crisis? The second dialogue then asks why there aren’t richer ongoing exchanges between social scientists engaged in the urban problematic, on one side, and heterodox economists, on the other side? We suggest that it will be beneficial to deepen these interdisciplinary exchanges; and doing so will require making visible — and then overcoming — some hidden disjunctures in the ways that those working on these problems from different starting points frame and orient their work.