portrait picture Barbara Götsch

Mag. Dr. Barbara Götsch, MSc

Post-Doc Researcher and Lecturer

Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor

E-Mail: barbara.goetsch@univie.ac.at

Research Focus Areas

  • Psychological & Organizational Anthropology
  • Theory of Mind, Mentalizing, Mental Health
  • Memory, Imagination, Planning
  • Narrative, Communication, Humour
  • Social Learning, the Life-Course, Ageing
  • Social Relations, Sociality, Subjectivity, Emotion
  • Regions: Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East

Short Biography

Barbara Götsch holds a PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology and an MA in Modern Languages from the University of Vienna, and an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she specialized in the anthropology of learning and cognition. She is a psychological anthropologist with focus on anthropology of mind (“theories of mind”, practices of mentalizing), human sociality and narrative. Her PhD research centred on social cognition in a work setting in Morocco, where she explored planning and strategizing among co-workers. After that, she worked on future oriented imaginings in urban planning in Southeast Asia.
She currently studies narratives of sense-making, mentalizing and the role of humour as it is used in dealing with adverse life events (crises, confinement, the COVID-pandemic) and in reflections on ageing, increasingly also drawing on work in psychoanalysis and mental health.

Selected Publications

  • Götsch, Barbara & Monika Palmberger. 2022. ‘The nexus of anthropology and narrative: ethnographic encounters with storytelling and narrative’, Introduction to special issue ‘Let me tell you a story’: anthropological encounters with narrative’. Narrative Culture. 9(1):1-22.
  • Götsch, Barbara. 2022. ‘Negotiating a project request: narrative and intersubjective understanding at work’, Narrative Culture. Special issue ‘Let me tell you a story: Anthropological encounters with narrative’. 9(1):46-71.
  • Götsch, Barbara. 2020. ‘Imaginaries of the future city in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Vienna: pathways to recognition, competitiveness and conviviality’, Archiv Orientální. Supplementa XII:79-109.
  • Götsch, Barbara. 2013. ‘Reflections on a collective brain at work: one week in the working life of an NGO team in urban Morocco’. In: Ingold, Tim & Gisli Palsson. Eds. 2013. Bio-social becomings: Integrating Social and Biological Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 123-144.
  • Götsch, Barbara & Barbara Preitler. 2006. ‘Traum(a)insel: Die psychische Bewältigung von Bürgerkrieg und Tsunami in Sri Lanka‘, In: Weinhäupl, Heidi & Margit Wolfsberger. Eds. 2006. Trauminseln? Reflexionen über Tourismus und Alltag in vermeintlichen Paradiesen. Wien: LIT-Verlag. pp. 111-126.


  • "Über Krisen reden - Making sense of multiple crises": Wie ältere Menschen in Wien Pandemie, Ukraine-Krieg, Energiekrise und drohende Altersarmut narrativ verarbeiten (2023-2024, funded by the City of Vienna, PI: Dr. Monika Palmberger)
  • Lebensgeschichtliche Erzählungen hochaltriger Menschen und die Einbettung der COVID-Pandemie: Eine geschlechtersensible narrativ-ethnographische Untersuchung in betreuten Wohnhäusern in Wien (2022-2023, funded by the City of Vienna, PI: Monika Palmberger)