The Wordle tag cloud does matches my interpretation of the article, but does not necessarily match a general viewpoint. Harkin raised the conflict of ‘populist’ versus ‘elitist’ both being responsible for the reader-response theory.
Reader-response theory does make sense to me in that a reader’s interpretation is based on their own experiences and understanding rather than the author’s intent.
From my own limited reading I can understand Harkin’s view, that there is a conspiracy to bury reader-response as a literary theory that is no longer explored. A theory remains a theory and evidence is gathered to either support or dismiss it. In my view if a theory is accepted by people in general, such as the theories of evolution or relativity, it is no longer viewed as a theory but as a fact (even though it remains a theory). As ‘reader-response’ does indeed seem to be ‘common-sense’, I think it is not seen as worth exploring further and theorists have therefore moved onto other things.