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Abstract

The paradox of multifunctionality is that, on the one hand, the specialised functionalities of agriculture arise only because of the functional differentiation of social systems and scientific disciplines and, on the other hand, multifunctionality can enter only as a way to mediate between conflicts, interests and fragmented knowledge when different functions and observations of functions combine. The aim of this article is to contribute to a theoretical and methodological platform for multidisciplinary research on multifunctional farming. With the notions of polyocular cognition and polyocular communication we introduce a second order, interdisciplinary communication process that can meet the challenge of creating a shared view on multifunctional farming. Polyocular communication must be based on rules other than the rules of the disciplines involved. Whereas disciplinary communication is about providing consistent, efficient and precise knowledge in the context of a sharply delimited research world, polyocular communication is about extending a multidimensional space of understanding.