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Balkanization

From Academic Kids

Balkanization is a geopolitical term originally used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region into smaller regions that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other. 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 further reaffirmed in the Yugoslav wars.

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 human languages, programming languages and data file formats (particularly XML in the last few years, as it is actually a metaformat, so allows anybody to create their own standard).

Recently the term has been used in American urban planning to describe the process of how gated communities are created. There are also attempts to use the term Balkanization in a positive way equalizing Balkanization with the need for sustenance of a group or society. It used to be hostile, but recent usages of the term show the potential of Balkanization vis-a-vis democratic processes.


See also

de:Balkanisierung pl:bałkanizacja

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