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Book Talk: Patriarchal Hierarchy; Market Capitalism and Production in Afghanistan - 10 January 2023

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The book is the product of Dr Rafi’s nearly four years of research which analyses extensive empirical data gathered in the field during a year in Afghanistan in 2018. The book’s theoretical contribution takes aim at the methodological foundations of market-led economic policy. This approach to economic development has been advocated by international financial institutions since the 1970s-80s, and was implemented in Afghanistan as part of the state institution (re-)building during 2001–2021.

The book draws on debates in institutionalist political economy and economic sociology (mainly concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu) but, importantly, deals critically with epistemological issues in how individual economic interest is theorised in contemporary economics, with implications that are seen in practice. The book’s empirical component focuses on manufacturing activities as one area of investment, examining individual motivation to invest in an environment marred by insecurity. It is of great importance to political economy of development to learn the implications of a market-oriented ‘non-intervention’ policy for manufacturing sector in a country which arguably witnessed the inflow of unprecedented international financial and human resources among least developed economies in the recent history of such outside assistance.

While much attention has been devoted to the security aspects of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan, the book attempts to fill a gap by focusing on the technical aspects of economic policy. The book event can be an opportunity to also discuss the wider implications of Afghanistan’s political economy during 2002-2021 after more than a year since the former political system’s collapse.


Kambaiz is a postdoctoral fellow under the Economic and Social Research Council program of the UK Research and Innovation, hosted at SOAS University of London. He finished his doctorate at UCL (University College London) in development policy, where he also worked as postgraduate teaching assistant. His research adapted an institutionalist framework to the study of private investments in manufacturing in a conflict-affected market economy, taking Kabul, Afghanistan during 2002-2018 as a case study. His doctoral thesis was published by Palgrave Macmillan under the title ‘Patriarchal Hierarchy; Market Capitalism and Production in Afghanistan’. His independent work in English and Persian has been published in academic and online media. He has an MA in International Political Economy from King’s College London, a BA majoring in Economics with minors in Political Science and Psychology from University of Pune, India, and a Diploma in National Security and International Relations from JRVGT Institute, Pune, India. He has worked as adviser to the Minister of Economy of Afghanistan on sustainable development goals, has experience working at the United Nations headquarters on ECOSOC and Security Council issues, and has think-tank experience in Washington, D.C. Kambaiz practices fine arts and has been taught at the Arts Students League of New York, UCL Arts Society and most recently at the Université Populaire Européenne in Strasbourg, France.

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