This paper aims to analyse how Ian Hacking states the
theoretical basis of his research on the classification of people.
Although all his early philosophical education had been based in
Foucault, it is also true that Erving Goffman’s perspective provided
him with epistemological and methodological tools for understanding
face-to-face relationships. Hence, all his works must be thought of as
social science texts that combine the research on how the individuals
are constituted ‘top-down’ (as in Foucault), with the inquiry into how
people renegotiate ‘bottom-up’ the classifications about them. Thus,
Hacking´s proposal constitutes a middle ground between the French
Philosopher and the American Sociologist. Placing himself between
both authors allows Hacking to build a frame that is expected to
adjust to Social Sciences’ main particularity: the fact that they study
interactive kinds. These are kinds of people, which imply that those
who are classified can change in certain ways that prompt the need
for changing previous classifications themselves. It is all about the
interaction between the labelling of people and the people who are
classified. Consequently, understanding the way in which Hacking
uses Foucault’s and Goffman’s theories is essential to fully
comprehend the social dynamic between individuals and concepts,
what Bert Hansen had called dialectical realism. His theoretical
proposal, therefore, is not only valuable because it combines diverse
perspectives, but also because it constitutes an utterly original and
relevant framework for Sociological theory and particularly for
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