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My research draws on the areas of legal sociology and knowledge making to explore the our cultural understanding of adulthood. I explore this through ethnographic and historical research on intellectual and developmental disability. My dissertation focuses in on one independent living program for young adults with disabilities to illuminate the ways in which staff and adults navigate the tension between care and autonomy. Along with an ethnographic focus on the practices of care, I also investigate the effect of the welfare state on the opportunities adults with disabilities have for autonomy and the types of support available to them. My research is funded by the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement grant and research grants from Policy Research Associates.