We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Sub-prime mortgage lending : a cultural economy.

Langley, P. (2008) 'Sub-prime mortgage lending : a cultural economy.', Economy and society., 37 (4). pp. 469-494.


Developing cultural economists’ concerns with the assembly of agency in financial markets, agency in sub-prime mortgage lending in the United States is shown to have been made up through calculative devices of risk. Credit reporting and scoring provided for the targeting, sorting, pricing and governing of customers in terms of risk. The securitization of mortgages into risk-structured financial instruments made possible extended lending. Interest-only adjustable rate mortgage products called up mortgagors who, as leveraged investors, embraced risk in a rising property market. The current sub-prime mortgage crisis is understood in critical terms as a moment when the contradictions of these risk devices and their incapacity to capture the uncertain future have come to the surface, and agency in sub-prime lending has been disassembled. Cultural economy is thus shown to make a distinctive contribution to the politicization of sub-prime that stresses the ambiguous politics of calculation.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Sub-prime mortgages, Cultural economy, Agency, Risk-based pricing, Securitization, Adjustable rate mortgages.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an electronic version of an article published in Langley, P. (2008) 'Sub-prime mortgage lending : a cultural economy.', Economy and society., 37 (4). pp. 469-494. Economy and society is available online at:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:06 September 2013
Date of first online publication:September 2008
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar