Prof. Dr. Walter Otto Ötsch

Walter Otto Oetsch is a professor for economics and cultural history at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (Austria). He explores the cultural history of basic categories like space, time, object and subject in Western history, ranging from ancient Greece over the Middle Ages up to the present. During those periods these fundamental categories of organizing perception and thought underwent significant changes that also altered the modes of subjective experience of individuals. Three millennia of cultural development have led to profound shifts in the border between what is perceived as the inner and the outer world. Phenomena that were generally regarded as stemming from the outer world (e.g. being possessed by an „outer“ demon) later became collectively understood as something happening within a person (e.g. as a psychodynamic process). Beside these primordial categories of organizing experience, Oetsch also tries to unravel modern concepts in politics and economy. Recently he showed how the concept of “the market“ – falsely understood as an uncontrollable force – has led us into the current economic crisis.