Course Title: Self, Identity and Agency

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Self, Identity and Agency

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017

Course Coordinator: Laurel Mackenzie

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 3396

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2.07

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Self, Identity and Agency examines the ways in which people shape, and are shaped by, the world around them. In this course you will examine questions such as: Are we ‘born’ the way we are or are we ‘made’ the way we are? How might issues be socially constructed and what are the debates about how meanings are created?  How and why do human beings grow and change over the course of their lives and what factors shape and determine their life chances? In order to answer these questions we will draw on a range of social science theories which can be used to increase understanding of human development and of the dynamics between the individual and the society of which they are a part. The course requires you to develop analytical skills in examining these theories and to apply them to an understanding of a range of social issues which confront individuals in contemporary society. It is particularly relevant to those working in human services such as psychologists, social work practitioners, youth workers, teachers, educators, community workers and others. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe and explain the purpose of theory in the social sciences
  • Compare and critically evaluate key social, constructionist and developmental theories discussed in the course
  • Engage the complexity of social meanings in relation to an area of society related to your future professional practice
  • Identify the key factors and processes involved and impacting on human development across the life course development
  • Use the ideas and theories studied in this course to reflect upon your own life and experiences


In this course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:


  • Participate robustly in contemporary and changing ideological and political debates impacting on society, in an informed, flexible and grounded manner to evaluate policy and/or engage in policy debates
  • Apply a body of interdisciplinary knowledge, values and skills in working with and for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised individuals, families, groups and communities.
  • Apply professional, theoretical and practical knowledge of the pyschological and social sciences to your professional practice and further study
  • Critically analyse, synthesise and apply theoretical and professional insights from the psychological and social sciences to reflect on the challenges facing professional practice in a rapidly changing world.
  • Apply logical, critical and creative thinking from the psychological and the social sciences to respond effectively to a range of issues associated with changing social, cultural and political contexts.
  • Communicate effectively using appropriate formats, media and styles to a range of audiences including other professionals, the public and government agencies.

In the course you will develop the following graduate capabilities:

  • Work ready
  • Global in competence and outlook
  • Environmentally aware and responsive
  • Culturally and socially aware
  • Active and lifelong learners
  • Innovative

Overview of Learning Activities

You are expected to attend a one-hour lecture and a two-hour workshop each week. Lectures are delivered in a semi-formal style - this means that you will have few opportunities in lectures to ask questions or discuss issues. Workshops are the place to discuss, question, and process the weekly readings and lecture. They are also the forum for developing key skills and working towards assessment items.

Overview of Learning Resources

Reading materials will be available through the RMIT bookshop and RMIT Library.

Overview of Assessment

You will demonstrate your learning in this course by completing assessment tasks with a total word length or equivalent of 4,000 words.

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment tasks may include, but are not limited to, tutorial presentations, analysis of interview, written analysis of a biography. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will be able to develop your work in relation to your own specific areas of interest in your professional practice. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.


If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact your program coordinator or the Equitable Learning Services Unit if you would like to find out more.


A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:;ID=c15i3ciaq8ca