This article examines how the foreclosure crisis has been represented in a range of narrative genres: the reportage of Paul Reyes's Exiles in Eden: Life among the Ruins of Florida's Great Recession (2010), Michael Moore's documentary film Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), and Paul Auster's novel Sunset Park (2010).These narratives attempt to contextualize the human beings caught in the center of the subprime mortgage storm, but in the process each of them runs up against an opacity or obscurity, a crisis of representation. The article argues that underlying the financial crisis is an inability to recognize and comprehend deeply embedded structures of inequality, a failure common to both the financial system and the wider culture. Drawing on recent accounts of the techniques of credit scoring and mortgage securitization in the disciplines of business history, accounting, financial management, and human geography, the article concludes that subprime mortgage lending involved social relations of supremacy and subordination, as well as representational strategies which identified individuals solely in terms of credit risk, while failing to grasp the conditions of poverty and disadvantage which constituted them as a class.
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