Balkanization: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Political fragmentation of the Balkans

Balkanization or balkanisation 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.[1][2]

The term has arisen from the conflicts in the 20th century Balkans. While what is now termed Balkanization has occurred throughout history, the term originally described the creation of smaller, ethnically diverse states following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.[3]

The term is also used to describe other forms of disintegration, including, for instance, the subdivision of the Internet into separate enclaves,[4] the division of subfields and the creation of new fields from sociology, and the breakdown of cooperative arrangements due to the rise of independent competitive entities engaged in "beggar thy neighbour" 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.

In January 2007, regarding a rise in support for Scottish independence, Gordon Brown talked of a "Balkanisation of Britain".[5]

See also



  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary 1. to break up (as a region or group) into smaller and often hostile units.
  2. ^ "Officers Look Back For Clues To Future", Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, Monday, January 15, 2007, page A01.
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Brittanica, "Balkanization"
  4. ^ Google lays out browser aims, Financial Times, September 4 2008
  5. ^ "BBC News | Politics | UK's existence is at risk - Brown". 13 January 2007.  


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Alternative spellings


The term has arisen from the conflicts in the 20th century Balkans.


  • (UK) IPA: /ˈBɒl.kən.aɪ.zeɪ.ʃən/, SAMPA: /"BQl.k@n.aI.zeI.S@n/

Proper noun




  1. A geopolitical term to describe the fragmentation of a region into several small states that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other.
  2. (informal) : Any disintegration process, such as that of the Internet being divided into separate enclaves.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

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