Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
21st Century Self: Critical and Constructionist Approaches to Contemporary Personhood
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group verbal presentation  a 15% weighted presentation on why the book chapter they have chosen could represent the social constructionist approach in an edited collection on 'the self'  15%
Semester Assessment Group verbal presentations  a 25% weighted presentation on the concepts of the 'psycomplex' and neo-liberalism and how these might be applied to a research project on health, exercise and eating.  25%
Semester Assessment Individual essay (2000 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1200 word essay  25%
Supplementary Assessment 2000 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1000 word essay  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  15%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of key aspects of a social constructionist approach to the self.

2. Be able to explain why language is important in social constructionist theorising of the self, with reference to poststructuralism.

3. Describe and illustrate key features of critical analyses of contemporary subjectivity (neo-liberalism and the psy-complex).

4. Analyse and evaluate published work from a social constructionist perspective on one of the following topics: embodiment and identity, gender (hegemonic masculinity and postfeminist femininity), sexuality, love, mental health, 'race', ethnicity nationality, and subjectivity and technology.

5. Critically reflect on how they may personally take up, reproduce, resist or otherwise negotiate dominant discourses on these topics in their own lives.

Brief description

In any society a set of understandings circulate about what it means to be a good person. Critical psychology is concerned with identifying the under¬standings that circulate in our cultural ‘moment’ and asking: what are the consequences for what we can say, think and do? Critical psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology, but draws on ideas that have currency in a range of disciplines including sociology, media and cultural studies. This module offers a critical social psychological approach to understanding the self, using problem based learning and inquiry methods that facilitate deep and reflexive learning.


To develop in students a good understanding of critical and constructionist approaches to the self, and how these might be applied to a range of identity issues and related behaviours. The module develops a key skill for Psychology students: the ability to conceptualise knowledge as a product of social processes that has consequences for the way we think and feel. Learning occurs through problem based learning and inquiry methods, that are congruent with social constructionist pedagogy.


  • Social constructionism
  • Principles of problem based learning and action research inquiry practices
  • Theorising the self from a social constructionist perspective.
  • Poststructuralist theories of discourse, power and resistance
  • Psy-complex
  • Neo-liberalism (individualism, risk, responsibility, authenticity, consumerism, self as a project)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable.
Communication Problem based learning group led projects will require discussions with other students; the ability to run group meetings focusing on addressing problem based learning tasks and the ability to organize and present verbal presentations in the class.
Improving own Learning and Performance The three problem based learning activities are structured so as to encourage students to consider their own learning styles and to take responsibility for their own learning, while supporting the learning styles of other’s in their group. This self and other management will be supported by the lecturer.
Information Technology Word processing, powerpoint and electronic data bases e.g. Web of Science and PsychLit.
Personal Development and Career planning The three problem based learning activities are designed to develop transferable skills. Each problem reflects a situation that academics are likely to encounter, thus training the students in processes associated with academic work, giving them a ‘work experience’ type experience. In addition the activities will allow students to develop their verbal and presentation skills; ability to work in a group; and ability to reflect on their personal frameworks for making sense of their social world, thus making links between theory and practice. These are all transferable skills to both other courses and to future career trajectories.
Problem solving Structured on problem based learning, the module will require students to identify strategies for engaging with the material and with each other in group work in order to develop their knowledge on the subject.
Research skills Reviewing literatures, use of psychology databases e.g. PsychLit, participation in a cooperative inquiry research group.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module.
Team work The course employs three problem based learning activities that require team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6