Adrianna Bagnall Munson

Adrianna Bagnall Munson


Managing Adulthood: Care and Autonomy for People with Developmental Disabilities

Dissertation Review Committee

Research Interests


My research brings together the sociology of knowledge, law, and cultural sociology in order to understand autonomy as both a concept that structures social interaction, and as a moral good. Using ethnography, interviews, and historical analysis, I investigate the ways in which knowledge about people is produced and how it is instantiated in law and social practice.  To this end, my research explores autonomy from the top down—as a discourse that shapes legal constructs and expectations of citizenship—and from the bottom up—as a negotiation between social actors. Through ethnographic research of one independent living program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disability, I explore how participants are formed as autonomous citizens and the ways they negotiate relationships of dependence. My historical research explores how the welfare state shapes opportunities and societal expectations for autonomy. My research broadly informs scholarship on social identity; namely, how measuring difference shapes identity and disciplines actors into ways of being in the world.  I am committed to increasing the accessibility of intellectual work by approaching my writing through creative partnerships with fellow artists and “public sociology.” My goal is to make my writing accessible to both my research subjects and my working-class family.  


  • B.A. Seattle Pacific University
  • M.A. Columbia University


  • TA, MA Thesis
  • TA, Social Theory
  • TA, Economy and Society Summer Instructor, The Social World