Unfolding social and material practices of drug treatment for youth in Azerbaijan and Germany
This presentation is based on a completed doctoral thesis that investigated similarities between the implementation of drug policy in Germany and Azerbaijan. The study particularly looked into how young people aged 16-21 experiences treatment in two national settings based on 20 narrative interviews. Mapping a trajectory from medicalization to normalization to harm-reduction, the study critically examines the idea of treatment and recovery based on how the two terms are understood not only on the structural level, but also individual, local, and material level. To follow these hypotheses, the analysis used the post-human ontological approach, drawing major insights from Actor-Network-Theory (Latour, 2005) and assemblage thinking (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). The use of such non-representational theoretical approach allowed highlighting similarities between the two countries' national drug discourses despite the obvious differences both on socio-political and on economic dimensions. For example, the participants reported similarities in the ways responsibilization and willpower dominate the expectations on both national drug discourses. Arguing against the theorizations of ontological universalism (Law, 2004), the study explores that materiality of daily experiences and minutest local contexts can shed a light on how Western treatment discourse shapes the experiences and narratives of youth living in Azerbaijan, Baku. The study's main contribution to current international debates on drug policy is a comparative analysis that maps the understudied experiences of youth in various treatment settings with a hint towards better service development without adhering to unified measurements on an international level.