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its target audience) and how that audience (or any other) will respond to that text.

Remember that a media text in itself has no meaning until it is read or decoded by an audience.

The Hypodermic model quickly proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text.

As the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did NOT reduce populations to a mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was sought.

Whatever your personal stance on the subject, you must understand the following theories and how they may be used to deconstruct the relationship between audience and text.

Governments had just discovered the power of advertising to communicate a message, and produced propaganda to try and sway populaces to their way of thinking.

This was particularly rampant in Europe during the First World War (look at some posters here) and its aftermath.

Far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways.

In 1948 Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society: Extending the concept of an active audience still further, in the 1980s and 1990s a lot of work was done on the way individuals received and interpreted a text, and how their individual circumstances (gender, class, age, ethnicity) affected their reading.

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