By the late 1980s, researchers began to pinpoint certain critical limitations in this linkage approach, or what Dissanayake (1986: 2) has designated ‘the transportational paradigm’, to understanding knowledge processes. The model assumes that the process of knowledge dissemination/utilisation involves the transfer of a body of knowledge from one individual or social unit to another, rather than adopting a more dynamic view that acknowledges the joint creation of knowledge by both disseminators and users. This latter interpretation depicts knowledge as arising from a fusion of horizons, since the processing and absorption of new items of information and new discursive or cognitive frames can only take place on the basis of already existing modes of knowledge and evaluation, which themselves are reshaped by the communicative experience. Moreover, although knowledge dissemination/creation is in essence an interpretative and cognitive process entailing the bridging of the gap between a familiar world and a less familiar (or even alien) set of meanings, knowledge is built upon the accumulated social experience, commitments and culturallyacquired dispositions of the actors involved. Hence,

communicative action is not only a [cognitive] process of reaching understanding; in coming to an understanding about something in the world, actors are at the same time taking part in interactions through which they develop, confirm, and renew their memberships in social groups and their own identities. Communicative actions are not only processes of interpretation in which cultural knowledge is ‘tested against the world’; they are at the same time processes of social integration and socialisation…

(Habermas 1987: 139)

Processes of knowledge dissemination/creation simultaneously imply, therefore, several interconnected elements: actor strategies and capacities for drawing upon existing knowledge repertoires and absorbing new information; validation processes whereby newly introduced information and its sources are judged acceptable and useful or contested; and various transactions involving the exchanges of actors involved in the production, dissemination and utilisation of knowledge. However, as several studies of ‘experimenting farmers’ (e.g., Richards 1985, Box 1987, Rhoades and Bebbington 1988, Millar 1994, Stolzenbach 1994) have convincingly shown, it is unlikely that the critical social divisions will coincide neatly with the distinctions between knowledge ‘producers’, ‘disseminators’ and ‘users’.