It is something of an irony that irresponsibility grows historically with responsibility. On the one hand, the more that normative expectationspolitical, moral, ‘humane’, etc.—develop, the more particular practices that breach them stand out as irresponsible. On the other hand, however, according to the more acute reading of irresponsibility that we have just initiated, ‘responsibility practices’ (Cane, 2002) inadvertently bring with them practices of irresponsibility, the essence of which lies not in the breach of norms, but in the simultaneous removal of responsibility according to potentially complex, but nonetheless patterned, processes of disconnection, disaggregation and disavowal. Law and legal categories, I have been suggesting, have a distinctive contribution to make in these developments and our attention will turn directly to them later. But their role cannot be seen for what it is without understanding more fully the sociological conditions within which they operate. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight some of the most prominent aspects of these conditions.