The "colloquial administration", defined as a tight and complex network of acts and messages exchanged by citizens and administration, is the outcome of at least three, long-period (indeed centuries-long) processes. The first marked, with various historical-social changes, the passage from nineteenth-century administration (as an instrument of coercion) to the administration of the twentieth century (as a means to build consensus through persuasion and participation). The second process involves constant comparison between the functioning of private organizations and of the public administrative system; a comparison which has induced the latter to adopt techniques and strategies typical of the private sector. The third process hinges on technological development (which goes further than the ongoing information revolution) and on its social use. The essay also analyses some aspects of the influence exerted by communication on the political sphere and concludes by citing a number of "queries" and "warnings" inherent in processes of "administrative modernization".