From John Thompson’s Media & Modernity pg 41-42:
In interpreting symbolic forms, individuals incorporate them into their own understanding of themselves and others. They use them as a vehicle for reflection and self-reflection, as a basis for thinking about themselves, about others and about the world to which they belong. I shall use the term ‘appropriation’ to refer to this extended process of understanding and self-understanding. To appropriate a message is to take hold of its meaningful content and make it one’s own. It is to assimilate the message and incorporate it into one’s life–a process that sometimes takes place effortlessly, and sometimes involves deliberate application. In appropriating a message we adapt it to our own lives and life contexts. We apply it to a set of circumstances which, in the case of media products, are generally different from the circumstances in which the message was produced.