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Written by one of the foremost and widely-respected writers in the field, this volume sheds new light on the forms and premises of the communicative experience. In doing so, it challenges the theoretical positions of marxist and "political economy of media" analysts who focus largely on the structure of economic and social power within the media. Instead, Scannell explores the structuring of engagement of the viewer/listener with the broadcaster by analysing the communicative intentions of the broadcaster and the understanding by the audience of those intentions. This powerful and accessible book makes an important contribution to media studies in showing students how the history of the media can be enriched by communications theory.