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Knowledge Asymmetries Between Research and Practice: A Social Systems Approach to Implementation Barriers in Organic Arable Farming



Knowledge Asymmetries Between Research and Practice: A Social Systems Approach to Implementation Barriers in Organic Arable Farming



Sociologia Ruralis 55(4): 460-482



This article discusses the problem of implementing scientific knowledge in practice. The discussion is based on a case study of barriers to implementing research-based principles of sustainable organic arable farming. The current literature tends to see this problem either as a dissemination issue (the linear approach) or as a failure of science to address real-world problems (the co-constructive approach). We argue that Luhmann's theory of social systems offers a way to understand the shortcomings of existing approaches and enables us to identify knowledge gaps that have often been overlooked so far. This theoretical claim is substantiated by an empirical analysis based on 10 in-depth interviews with owners of organic arable farms. The farmers were interviewed about barriers to the implementation of research-based knowledge in practice. The analysis points to the operational closure and the observational blindness of both research systems and farming systems as the keys to understanding knowledge gaps and suggests new ways of dealing with the problems of implementing research knowledge in practice.

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Accession: 066304806

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1111/soru.12078


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