The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Kambaiz Rafi

Kambaiz Rafi is a political economy researcher with a PhD in institutionalized behaviour in economic investments from UCL (University College London). He is interested in institutions, habitus, industrial policy and hegemony. He has studied an undergraduate in economics (major), political science and psychology in Savitribai Phule Pune University, has a diploma in national security and international relations from Jagannath Rathi Institute, and completed a master’s in international political economy from King’s College London. His PhD investigates habitus and implicit institutionalized behaviour and its link with allocative decision-making in secondary sector in the context of a conflict-affected market economy. He has previously worked in various academic and policy organizations and contributes regularly to online outlets in English and Persian. 

Contact: k.rafi.16@ucl.ac.uk

A collection of Kambaiz's academic and non-academic articles can be found here: 


PhD Thesis Abstract:

The thesis examines the effects of embodied institutions (institutions rooted in social structures) on the individual decision to enter manufacturing activities in the context of a conflict-affected market economy – Kabul during 2002-2018. The political economy of the field during the study period was characterized by political conflict and a market-oriented ‘enabling environment approach’ (EEA). EEA combined with the ongoing conflict was taken as the macro-level policy backdrop, and the micro-level study drew on the dialectical relationship between the patriarchal family and Quranic injunctions pertaining to socio-economic life to find out the embodied institutions, which were used as micro-analytic tools to explain data patterns pertaining to the investment decision and the subsequent strategies for enterprise continuation. The research adopted the Bourdieusian framework, in particular the concepts of habitus and field. The findings indicate that the effects of investor habitus, rooted in the family-religion relationship, has structured the decision to enter manufacturing sector and the subsequent encounter with this field, including strategies for enterprise continuation. This same process, moreover, is seen as closely patterned along the patriarchal family hierarchy, reproducing in large degree the social structure where habitus is produced in the context. Building on this empirical analysis, the study relies on qualitative proxies of significance (QPSs) to argue that the sector has not grown structurally significant in Kabul’s economy during 2002-2018, while habitus’ effect is observed as a conduit for transmitting the unequitable hierarchy of power in the family to the production sector. To suggest an alternative, the thesis proposes targeted state-bureaucratic intervention in such a context to promote this sector’s growth within a revamped or modified EEA framework, and to moderate the uninterrupted transfer of the patriarchal family hierarchy into this sector through political and regulatory means.