Drawing upon interviews and documentary information, this article investigates the means through which changes related to the biggest Italian construction project are communicated. I argue that people are aware of most political elements connected to the territorial debate, and that their receptivity is conditioned by the social environment. This is particularly true when political élites deliver messages aimed at legitimizing issues that carry symbolic meanings and identity concerns. Responses to the project of building a bridge across the Strait of Messina point to powerful strategies aimed at undermining alternative views. Political metaphors contribute to a situation in which political élites’ interests run roughshod over the expectations of people. Whatever path the message may take, it manipulates the acquisition of knowledge and bogs people down.
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