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The Real Estate/Financial Complex (REFCOM)
Start date: Feb 1, 2013, End date: Jan 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Real estate and finance were at the roots of the global economic crisis that started in 2007. States and their many institutions have also been seen as complicit to the crisis. The connections between real estate (both residential and non-residential), finance and states still remain under-researched and under-theorized. Work in various political economy traditions has done a great deal of research into the connection between finance and states, but they have often ignored a crucial sector: real estate. There is also a tradition of work focusing on the interaction between real estate and states, usually concentrating on the involvement of municipalities in real estate projects. Finance is often ignored in this tradition. Moreover, this tradition has its roots in urban studies and is very micro focused, while the various political economy traditions are very macro focused. In other words, we not only need a stronger connection between finance and real estate, we also need a stronger connection between different scales: local/urban, national and global.I here propose a new metaphor that can help us to centre attention on the connection between real estate, finance and states: the real estate/financial complex, akin the military/industrial complex. Both complexes should be seen as triangles since states are also part of the equation. A Postdoc will do internationally comparative research on both the quantitative and qualitative shifts towards real estate, finance and their interaction. Three PhD students will focus on two countries each, each complementing two national mappings of the complex with two local/urban case studies. The PI will focus on the qualitative shift towards real estate, finance and the role of the state in this; the global dimensions of the complex; and the conceptualization of the complex in relation to the structural changes in state-society-market relations.
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