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This consumer good could save your life: The defibrillator at home

Keywords: Defibrillation , consumer goods in the home , adoption of technology

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In the UK, it has recently become possible for the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), a device that can treat a heart attack, to be sold direct to members of the public, for use at home. This is a significant development, in so far as it prefigures a wider direction for medical technology to be marketed to consumers, rather than being mediated by the medical profession or hospitals. Using insights from Science and Technology Studies, and the sociology of consumption, this paper reports on a qualitative study of UK consumers who have bought an AED. The AED has multiple meanings for the people who have bought one, displaying a rich variety of symbolic resonances, and articulating ideas about community and consumption.


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