Dr. Aysel Sultan

Akademische Rätin

Wissenschafts- und Technologiepolitik

Dr Aysel Sultan has a background in the sociology of health and illness and educational sciences with a particular interest in the application of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in public health, treatment and healthcare policies. After studying psychology at Baku State University and social work at Vytautas Magnus University , she defended her doctoral thesis in 2019 at the Goethe University Frankfurt at the Department of Educational Sciences in which she explored the socio-material aspects of recovery from drug use among young people . In 2020, she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Haifa to study marginalization of older adults who use drugs. Aysel joined the STS department in 2022 and is a Lecturer (Akademische Rätin) in the RESET MA program funded by the Bavarian Elite Network. She holds an Adjunct Research Associate position at the Monash University, Australia.  

Aysel is co-Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly, peer-reviewed academic journal Drugs, Habits and Social Policy  published by Emerald.


  • Sociology of health and illness
  • Childhood and youth
  • Critical public health
  • International drug policy
  • Harm reduction
  • (New)Materialism and posthumanism


Research articles

  • Sultan, A. (in press). Sitting the local in global drug policy debates: Historical overview of political and drug market developments in Azerbaijan. Journal of Illicit Economies and Development.
  • Sultan, A., & Duff, C. (2022). The line of vulnerability in a recovery assemblage. International Journal of Drug Policy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103740
  • Hunner-Kreisel, C., Nasrullayeva, N., Kreisel, S., Sultan, A. , Bühler-Niderberger, D. (2022). Being a (female) child in Baku: Social order and understandings of well-being. Child Indicators Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-022-09940-6
  • Sultan, A. (2021). Aging with drug use: Theorizing intersectionally with material gerontology and critical drug studies. Journal of Aging Studies . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2021.100990
  • Sultan, A. (2021). ‚What’s the problem represented to be?‘ The place and wellbeing of young people in Azerbaijan’s drug policy. Child Indicators Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09874-5
  • Sultan, A. & Duff, C. (2021). Assembling and diversifying social contexts of recovery. International Journal of Drug Policy . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102979
  • Sultan, A. & Werse, B. (2019). “Motivations for prescription drug use in a marginalized open drug scene,” Drugs and Alcohol Today . https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-08-2019-0036
  • Sultan, A. & Andresen, S. (2019). ‚A child on drugs‘: Conceptualizing childhood experiences of agency and vulnerability. Global Studies of Childhood.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2043610619860996
  • Sultan, A. & Mažeikienė, N. (2019). Living with HIV in post-Soviet states: Rejecting individual stigma through social activism. International Social Work.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872819858746


  • Sultan, A., Bühler-Niederberger, D. and Nasrullayeva, N. (2023), „Sociomaterial Analysis of Azerbaijani Children’s Smartphone Use: Generational Ordering Through User-Technology Interactions“. In The Emerald Handbook of Childhood and Youth in Asian Societies . https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80382-283-920231014


Policy papers, commentary AND Reports (SelectED)

  • co-Editor-in-Chief 

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy journal is committed to bringing together research on the cultural, social and material contexts of drug use, policy, and professional practices. Previously published as Drugs and Alcohol Today (2001-2021).

  • Reviewer

“International Journal of Drug Policy”, “Sociology of Health and Illness”, “Contemporary Drug Problems”, “Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy” , “Child Indicators Research” , “International Social Work” , “International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being”, “International Journal of Human Rights”, “Medical Anthropology Theory”, “Health and Place”, “Subjectivity“

  • Research consultancy

European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EU Drugs Agency), Global Drug Survey (GDS)

Invited Talks

  • 2023 “Victimless crime”: The case of Shiny Flakes as a socio-technical innovation and the arrival of chemical revolution in Germany, September 5, The sixth  Contemporary Drug Problems Conference Workshop, virtual Paris
  • 2023 “Recovering assemblages: Unfolding sociomaterial relationships of drug use and recovery”, August 16, Talking Point, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2023 “Towards a discursive intervention in telling the story of academic precarity”, March 15-17. STS hub: Towards encounters among STS scholars in Germany . Aachen
  • 2023 “Imagining recovery otherwise”, January 26-27, Symposium: Healing disruption: other histories of intoxication and ‚addiction‘. University of Exeter, UK
  • 2021 “Deleuzian approach to rethinking vulnerability: A case study of recovery from drug use in military service”, Lecture series on Vulnerability: Interdisciplinary approaches. March 24, University of Friborg, Switzerland, virtual
  • 2017 „Cultural indicators of high-risk drug use among adolescents: Cases of Azerbaijan and Germany“, November 14, Vechta University, Germany

Conference Presentations

  • 2023 “The ’new‘ era for drug policy in Azerbaijan: Developments in responding to drug market changes”, May 31-June1. 16th Annual Conference of The International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP). Leuven, Belgium (Paper)
  • 2021 “Theorizing intersectionally with material gerontology and critical drug studies”, European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD), September 30 – October 1, virtual Vienna ( Paper) 
  • 2020  “Transcending experiences, limiting concepts: How to rethink ‚recovery‘ in a non-standard comparative study?”, EASST/4S joined conference, August 18-21, virtual Prague (Paper, Session chair)
  • 2019 „Unfolding social and material practices of drug treatment for youth in Azerbaijan and Germany“, Lisbon Addictions (the third European Conference on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies), October 23-25, Lisbon, Portugal (Paper )
  • 2019 „Rethinking recovery: Unfolding social and material practices“, 5th Contemporary Drug Problems (CDP) Conference, September 4-6, Prato, Italy (Paper)
  • 2019 „Azerbaijan’s national drug policy reflected in recovery of youth who use drugs“, 7th Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI), August 27-29, Tartu, Estonia (Paper )
  • 2019 “The stake of a ’non-standard‘ comparative approach: Drug treatment policies of Azerbaijan and Germany“, 13th annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP), May 22-24, Paris, France ( Paper )
  • 2018 “Recovery and vulnerability in alcohol and other drug use treatment of adolescents”, 1st Childhood Vulnerability Conference, December 12-14, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Paper, co-organizer)
  • 2018 “Recovery as an assemblage: Empirical findings from Azerbaijan”, the 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP), May 16-18, Vancouver, Canada (Paper )
  • 2017 “Overlooked” Azerbaijani youth: How does local drug policy affect prescription drug use patterns, Drug Science Conference, September 7-9, Berlin, Germany (Poster)
  • 2017 “Narratives of high-risk drug use by adolescents: Cross-cultural perspectives, 4th Contemporary Drug Problems Conference (CDP), August 23-25, 2017, Helsinki, Finland (Paper )
  • 2017 “Marginalized adolescent high-risk drug users in Azerbaijan and Germany” International Federation for Social Workers (IFSW) European Conference, May 28-30, Reykjavík, Iceland (Poster)
  • 2017  “Drug policies in Azerbaijan and Germany reflected in the narratives of high-risk drug-user adolescents”, 11th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP), May 17-19, Århus, Denmark (Paper )
  • 2016 ‚Person-in-context‘: Using narratives to study adolescent drug use in Azerbaijan and Germany, 27th Conference of the European Society for Social Drug Research (ESSD), September 22-24, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Paper )
  • 2016 “Coping strategies of drug-using adolescents: Cross-cultural perspective”, 24th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), July 10-14, Vilnius, Lithuania (Poster )
  • European Association for the Study of Science and Technology
  • European Society for Social Drug Research
  • International Society for the Study of Drug Policy
  • Lab for Studies of Science and Technology
  • stsing eV
  • Visiting researcher fellowship (2023), DAAD and Monash University
  • Postdoctoral research fellowship (2020), Minerva Foundation, University of Haifa
  • PhD completion scholarship (2018-2019), Department of Educational Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Full PhD Scholarship (2014-2017), Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan