Identity and the coorporate-individual, individual-coorporate synecdoche

In response to the previous post’s discussion concerning the named stranger, Mataikhan asks:

So I could hang out in my own storefront and be mistaken for a customer, but people I’ve never met loved me and missed me when I didn’t make the big industry event.

What do you call that?

That, I would call a case of synecdoche, wherein these business affiliates of yours associate the identity of the corporation (I will call it ‘corporation’ just to simplify matters, even if it is an other sort of business) with your identity. Yours has, in effect, become the first name of the corporation. It is the name they deal with when conducting business with your corporation, thus it is the name they think of when they meet face-to-face with the company. The corporates’ report (as a whole) is cognitively mapped to your first name (the part).

The same sort of thing has happened when I met a UPS delivery man about town last week. He used to be the one who brought things to my place of work, and I was almost always the one to sign for the packages. Thus, when he saw me, his first question was how was the business, then how was I. His first association, when seeing me, was not me, but what I stood for in his mind: my place of employment.

~ by jeorgesmith on 21 August 2008.

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