Stephanie McNulty

Stephanie McNulty is a recently tenured Associate Professor of Government at Franklin and Marshall College, a member of the North American PB Research Board, and an all-round amazing person who does fascinating research on the gender dynamics of PB in Peru. We caught up with Stephanie as part of our PB researcher blog series to learn more about what she finds interesting, challenging, and inspiring about PB.

PBP: Where do you fit in the world of PB research?

Stephanie: I have been researching PB in Peru since 2004. As a graduate student, when collecting data in six cities in Peru, I immersed myself in the topic. When I returned to the United States, I slowly met the community of practitioners and scholars who have been researching and implementing PB around the world. Now I research several aspects of PB internationally, such as its impact and inclusion. It is a fascinating field of study.

PBP: Describe the findings in your most recent publication on PB.

Stephanie: In Peru, PB is mandated in all cities and regions. This is exciting to many as it shows a political commitment to participatory governance. However, when we dig deeper and explore the nature of the meetings, for example, it becomes clear that marginalized communities (e.g., women, Afro-Peruvians, indigenous) are under-represented. This is due to several structural problems, such as organizational weaknesses and economic disparity.

PBP: What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in researching PB, and how have you tried to overcome them?

Stephanie: When exploring the issue of inclusion in PB in Peru, I currently have to rely on mostly quantitative data, such as the number and gender of participants. I am eager to do more extensive fieldwork so I can gather more qualitative data on inclusion.

PBP: What has your research uncovered about ways to improve PB in North America?

Stephanie: My research points to the importance of community outreach. When I meet people in New York and other cities doing PB, I am always impressed at how innovative and effective their outreach efforts are. I know it is time consuming and expensive, but these efforts are worth every minute and cent.

PBP: What do you enjoy most about engaging with PB in your work?

Stephanie: I enjoy observing cities and countries around the world as they grapple with how to effectively engage more people in political processes. It both reassures me and teaches me about complexities.  I also love the community of people who are involved in all aspects of PB. When I engage with PB in some way (research, visits, meetings), I always leave the experience inspired.


Want to see a preview of Stephanie’s work? See her recently published article on gender and PB in Peru here.