In Zygmunt Bauman’s (2000a) tantalizing phrase ‘the seductive lightness of being’ he offers a crucial insight into the shift from ‘heavy’ to ‘light’ modernity. Heavy modernity might be understood as the age of total administration, when hierarchical bureaucracies ruled, which reached its zenith in the post-World War II welfare state of Western democracies. This formality has now shifted to lighter, flatter and more networked community organizations and associations, though the shadow of bureaucratization and ‘the rule of order’ (Bauman 1989) remain. These conditions, Bauman contends, are now, more than ever before, characterized by an ‘instantaneity’ of liquid life that is both elusive and never a ‘zero sum game’ for the web of actors involved. The themes of ‘light modernity’ as involving fluidity, temporality, instantaneity and uncertainty reappear in Bauman’s work on the ‘liquidity’ of modern society, identity and social life (ibid. 2000a, 2000b, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011). Contemporary welfare practices – welfare praxis – involve an endless

mixing of the languages of theory and practice that constitute the education, continual learning and practice of workers in the field. A deconstructionist analysis opens up possibilities for critiquing and transforming the liquid life of organizations. This can be facilitated by a de-territorialization of textual constructions in human service and other organizations (Cooren 2004). By ‘de-territorialization’ we mean in this context that staff and clients of such organizations can resist – as critical and creative agents – and work against the conservatism of bureaucratization and hyper-managerial ‘spontaneity’. Part of this de-territorialization is done by adopting critical understandings of policy and practice texts, such as those that are framed as ‘evidence-based’, to de-programme, de-formalize and de-standardize welfare praxis (Honan 2004; Bauman 2011). However, there are no easy ways out for staff or clients to resist the manipulations of ‘new second wave public management’ or what Bauman calls the ‘Managerial Revolution mark 2’:

On the crest of their second revolution, the managers banished the pursuit of routine and invited the forces of spontaneity to occupy the now

vacant room. They refused to manage; instead, they now demand that the residents, on the threat of eviction, self-manage.