Balkanization is a geopolitical term originally used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region or state into smaller regions or states that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other. [ [ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary] "1. to break up (as a region or group) into smaller and often hostile units."] [ [ "Officers Look Back For Clues To Future] ", [ Sudarsan Raghavan] , Washington Post, Monday, January 15, 2007, page A01.] The term has arisen from the conflicts in the 20th century Balkans. The first balkanization was embodied in the Balkan Wars, and the term was reaffirmed in the Yugoslav wars. The amount of "Yugoslavian" territory officially controlled by Belgrade has been reduced piece by piece since 1991.

The term is also used to describe other forms of disintegration, including, for instance, the subdivision of the Internet being divided into separate enclaves [] , and the breakdown of cooperative arrangements due to the rise of independent competitive entities engaged in "beggar-thy-neighbor" bidding wars. Balkanization is sometimes used to refer to the divergence over time of programming languages and data file formats (particularly XML). The term has been used in American urban planning to describe the process of creating gated communities.

There are also attempts to use the term "balkanization" in a positive way equating it with the need for sustenance of a group or society. Current research on the positive aspects of Balkanization is carried out by Srđan Jovanović Weiss with Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College.

The term has also been used by conservative gay rights activist Andrew Sullivan. He referred to civil unions as adding to the "cultural balkanization that already plagues American public life." [ [ Independent Gay Forum - Andrew Sullivan , "Why 'Civil Union' Isn't Marriage"] ] In January 2007, regarding a rise in support for Scottish independence, Gordon Brown talked of a "Balkanisation of Britain". [cite news|url=|title=BBC News | Politics | UK's existence is at risk - Brown|date=13 January, 2007]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Balkanization — (Amer.) n. breaking up of a region into small units; division of a group into smaller and hostile units; division of a labor market into many economic and geographic branches with each having its own internal labor maket (also Balkanisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Balkanization — See Balkanize. * * *       division of a multinational state into smaller ethnically homogeneous entities. The term also is used to refer to ethnic conflict within multiethnic states. It was coined at the end of World War I to describe the ethnic …   Universalium

  • Balkanization — [[t]bɔ͟ːlkənaɪze͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] N UNCOUNT (disapproval) (The spellings balkanization, and in British English balkanisation are also used.) If you disapprove of the division of a country into separate independent states, you can refer to the… …   English dictionary

  • balkanization — ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷nə̇ˈzāshən, ˌnīˈz noun ( s) Usage: often capitalized : the process of balkanizing : the state of being balkanized regretted the balkanization of South Africa and were anxious for some form of federation Leo Marquard perpetuate the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • balkanization — balkanizacija statusas T sritis Politika apibrėžtis Procesas, reiškiantis didelės valstybės suirimą ir naujų mažų, nacionalistiškai nusiteikusių ir labai priešiškų viena kitai valstybių susiformavimą. Terminas atsirado iš Balkanų pusiasalio… …   Politikos mokslų enciklopedinis žodynas

  • Balkanization — Balkanize (also Balkanise) ► VERB ▪ divide (a region or body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups. DERIVATIVES Balkanization noun …   English terms dictionary

  • balkanization — noun see balkanize …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Balkanization — noun /ˈbɒl.kən.aɪ.zeɪ.ʃən,ˈbɑl.kən.aɪ.zeɪ.ʃən/ a) A geopolitical term to describe the fragmentation of a region into several small states that are often hostile or non cooperative with each other. b) Any disintegration process, such as that of… …   Wiktionary

  • balkanization — bal|kan|i|za|tion also sation BrE [ˌbo:lkənaıˈzeıʃən US ˌbo:lkənə ] n [U] [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Balkans, the name of an area of southeast Europe with many small states that often fight each other] the practice of dividing a country into… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • balkanization — bal·kan·i·za·tion …   English syllables

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.