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Unnecessarily exclusive sentence?[edit]

The second sentence of the article, first paragraph states "Balkanisation is a result of foreign policies creating geopolitical fragmentation,". It seems unnecessary to note that it is from foreign policies, especially in the first paragraph. This process could happen from domestic policies as well. Didn't want to remove it without understanding the purpose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

I think that the point may be that the people of the Balkans are of different ethnicities and religions, often pointed to as causes of conflict. The geopolitical underpinnings for those differences are either demonstrably not local, or are very likely not to be local.

meaning of paragraph[edit]

Balkanization today is spontaneous, easy going and amicable despite its notorious reputation. It is happening as we speak to corporations, to international law, to Antarctica, to Mexico, to America, to Commonwelth, to Europe, to the empire of the Alexander the Great, to department stores, to congretional voting districts in America, to languages, to Spice girls, to Gremlins, to no-man's lands, to air space, to Berlin wall, to light refraction and more to come.

Does any care to offer a thought on what this last paragraph means? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 02:46, 10 April 2005

Better term than Balkanization for languages?[edit]

I believe there is a better term than Balkanization for the divergence of languages over time. It includes the word "Babel" if I remember. Does anyone know the term I am referring to?

Should Balkanization be captialized?[edit]

I capitalized Balkanization twice for the sake of consistency, as it seems to be acceptable both ways -- does anyone have a reason to have it uncapitalized? I don't know much about the word...Lady~Macbeth 02:10, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

According to wiktionary and the Collaborative International Dictionary of English, no. According to WordNet, yes. Various sites non-authoritative sources on the Web use it differently (some capitalized, others not). I think it should not be capitalized because it is not a noun; but perhaps English allows it to be because English is often strange -- I'm not sure. I lowercased all the uses before I saw the WordNet definition. -Pgan002 19:37, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Since the term comes from describing the historical situation in the Balkans, I generally prefer to capitalize the word. However, there is no consensus on this and either is considered correct. --RealPaulVee (talk) 15:44, 23 February 2015 (UTC)


Ah yes, that would be the Tower of Babel incident. The Big Man is a crafty genius!

Balkanization in Spain[edit]

In Spain, some right political leaders and opinion journalists use this term to advert the dangers that can bring separatist parties in some regions, specially in Basque country and Catalonia and about their language policy.

Another connotation[edit]

We use this term in Central Europe in entirely other connotation. There is a good example for Balkanization.

Public letter of Sabin Gherman a Romanian from Transylvania (Sabin Gherman - chairman of Pro Transilvania) originally appeared in Monitorul de Cluj:

I am fed-up with Romania!

by Sabin Gherman

I am fed-up with John Doe (Transl. note: in romanian Mitica), with the smartarseness and with the Gypsy-like behaviour that are associated to this country name, Romania. I talk to several politicians who hold the power and all of them tell me that "we have no chance whatsoever"(Transl. note: to join modern Europe). I read in the newspapers and find that the government took care to give more funds to Bucharest than to the entire Transylvania, from the '98 revenue. I drive the car South and East and I notice the difference: there are better highways there, funds are always pumped in there. I wait in line at the revenue office, at the state-owned bank, at anything state-owned and tips are given everywhere. Bribes. Payola. Turkish habits, which one cannot do without.

So what? I don't want to emigrate, just because nothing has been done in ten years. I'm just fed-up with Romania. With its synonyms. With its heroisms taken out of any historical context. Other nations show their pride in Michelangelo or Da Vinci, whereas I'm shown the letter of Neacsu from Cimpulung (Transl.note: the first document written in Romanian, dated 1521 and sent by Neacsu to the Saxon mayor of Brassó, Transylvania, with reference to Turkish war ship movements on the Danube). What a fantastic achievement, this delation! (Transl, note: a quotation from Ion Luca Caragiale) If I regret anything at all now, at 30 years old, it is that I was born here, that I am among those who had been taught in school that this people, - "the beoble" (Transl. note: another quotation from Ion Luca Caragiale), Gentlemen, was in a permanent erection in front of history. What people? We, who hadn't shown virility at least once, we, who were packing up in times of invasion and ran for our lives to the forests, we, who were fainting in the halls where history was being decided (Transl. note: reference to the Romanian Foreign minister's faint, when he heard the Vienna decision in 1940, returning Northern Transylvania to Hungary), we, who nowadays scream for a piece of bread and don't know what more tricks to invent.

Here we are, bum-patched, elbow-ripped, we enter history as if a filthy pub in the neighbourhood. Between two burps and a swearing, the people (the beoble, gentlemen!), talk fiercely about Posada (Transl. note: the pass where King Karoly Robert of Hungary lost the battle in 1330 after being attacked from the back), about Michael The Brave (Mihai Viteazul, prince of Walachia, or Muntenia, who conquered Transylvania and Moldavia at about 1600), about "Long live and prosper Moldavia, Transylvania and Muntenia!" (Transl.note: historical provinces of the nowadays Romania). And yet another victorious burp. I'm fed-up with being ashamed of myself. That's why I tell my Western friends that I am from Transylvania. Altra paese. Other country. L'autre pays. I'm fed-up with being told by all non-Transylvanians that here, in Transylvania, I have troubles with Hungarians. That, weren't they... That hunger is the mother of wisdom. That federalisation is the most terrible danger watching me, stalking on me around the corner of the tower of flats along to the mugger whom I pay taxes for. That I ought to tighten the belt, as if Nasreddine's donkey (Transl.note: reference to folk stories about Nasreddine Hoca or Hodja). In the name of the "unity" and "prosperity" of the romanian kin. Yet I, who have been waiting for 10 years for a real unity, the unity of Transylvanian parliament members for Transylvania, the civic campaign to save the few that is left.

Yet I, praying each evening to finally come to an end with László Tőkés, with his ethnical aberrations against everyone. (Transl.note: ironical reference to the Hungarian Reformat bishop, the frequent target of Romanian nationalists' attacks). Yet, in vain. So far. Some people carried out the Unification [of Transylvania with Romania] in 1918. Other people put their hopes in a Swiss-type confederation, together with Hungary, Czechia, and Austria. And still others, as Ioan Slavici, said that the unification of Transylvania with Romania is hogwash, and were jailed. Now we can see its outcome. Sobriety, elegance, and discipline - features of Transylvania - were invaded by johndoeisms, by ordinary Balkan habits, by the civilisation of the pumpkin seeds. It was Romania's chance to unite with Transylvania, to learn something from its organisation, from its systems of values. It did not happen so; Romania swallowed Transylvania - this is why nowadays one can slide every three yards on the saliva spat on the great boulevards. It is not myself who says this, but someone equal to God, Cioran (Transl.note: Romanian born Emil Cioran (1911-1995), active in France as a writer). Many will throw in their two cents to argue the aforesaid. But: how many of you didn't go to Bucharest with your filled bag, with the famous wovenbag, stuffed with bottles of hard drink? And you didn't bring it to your friends, but to chief executive officers, to ministries, to high places behind closed doors. And if, naive as you are, you didn't carry those bags, how many times weren't you warned that one enters Bucharest with one's head, since your hands are busy with "luggages". Bucharest, this place where the phthisic genius kisses the billionaire illiterate, taught all the country that "one is given". "Meat is given", "Eggs are given". One is given. Mollusk attitude.

One has no rights here, only conventionalities. Here one eats pumpkin seeds, one uses to talk like: "there is many", and people generally are born, spawn, and die. They haven't learned anything from Hungarians, they haven't learned anything from Austrians, they haven't learned anything from Germans. Too early they switched from "forktion" (Transl.note: a quotation from Vasile alecsandri; an ironical reference to snobs, who, having no good French skills, thought enough adding the -tion suffix to the Romanian word furculita=fork, to get its foreign version) to "Romanian brigades pierce through Carpathians!" (Transl. note: the marching song of the royal Romanian army when in 1916, after two years of neutrality, attacked the Hungarian held Transylvania, but withdrawn soon, after 3 weeks, because of military failure). Maybe this is why the bravest "defenders" of Transylvania were born beyond the Carpathians. Maybe this is why Europe ends somewhere near Braşov (Hungarian: Brassó). There's where Transylvania ends as well. Since, besides language and poor highways we have nothing in common.

We will have to wake up. To admit that what happens now is a comedy. But one in which your children ask you for a chocolate, and you just raise your shoulders. In which, tremblingly, you always look for a recommendation for anything. In which you whisper round corners about the villas of policemen, or of parliament members. A world doomed to borrowing from one salary to the next one. We will have to see that it can be otherwise. That we are different. That all the evil comes from Bucharest, from the luxury palaces, where politicians dispute the bone without any shame at all. We will have to see that it's not Hungarians, or Germans, or people of Burundi those who are our enemies, but ourselves, who live from one day to the next one, doomed to steal and swear around corners. We have nothing what to tell each other anymore, we have been doing this for 75 years (Transl. note: since 1918 when Transylvania was united with Romania) and we are 75 times poorer now. Otherwise, have nice days - I'm fed-up with Romania, I want my Transylvania!

(Sept. 16, 1998)

Bendeguz 11:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

That is irrelevant, "The Balkans" are an area, hence refering to ordinary Balkan habits is refering to the habits of the people living in that area. It is unconnected to this word Balkanization.

EAi 23:56, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Removed section[edit]

Dr. Bernard Lewis developed a Balkanization concept where Western governments would help to spread Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, and how this would trigger a surge of Islamic nationalism among Soviet Muslims and lead to a collapse of the Soviet Union. This theory was put into action in Afghanistan, where massive U.S. aid to the Mujahadeen and other Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a textbook example of blowback, this plan also elevated Osama bin Laden to an influential position among Muslim fundamentalists, and led directly to the establishment of Al Qaeda, the organization alledgedly responsible for the September 11th attacks against the United States. This balkanization plan also helped to trigger the Chechnyan separatist movement in which Russians and Chechnyans are currently embroiled.

This is complete rubbish.

The US supported Afgh. to contain the USSR. Military failure in Afgh. helped bring down USSR by demoralising the army - NOT because fundamenalist Islam in Afgh. led to a fundamentalist revival in the USSR! accordingly, the follow on arguments about blowback are rubbish. Toby Douglass 16:58, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Mangled grammar => meaningless sentence?[edit]

What does "No American urban planning to describe the process of how gated communities are created" mean? I can't parse that sentence. Should "No" be replaced with "The term Balkanization is sometimes used in?" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:09, 7 December 2006 (UTC).


I suggest we add Kosovo into the map that shows the progressive breakup of Yugoslavia. Just a suggestion; I am not good at editing so I will not attempt it ;). (talk) 01:10, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Bosnian entities[edit]

Could someone edit the map so that two constitutional entities (Republic of Srpska and Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina) be visible after 2005? There's no reason to not show them, because they are visible prior to 2005. and no changes happened in territorial or constitutional composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina from that time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:25, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it's been 10 years since this comment. But not changed yet. Nothing happened in 2005, the entities still exist in 2020. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:11, 25 July 2020 (UTC)

Undoing recent edit[edit]

The following text was added in a recent edit. It looks like some sort of school essay or presentation. It probably contains several points worth making, but in its present form it is not suitable for the article. I leave it here for editors' consideration. FTR, I am a registered editor but I am not logged on as I was just looking something up quickly. (talk) 12:15, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

There recently used to be one capital city, of the former Yugoslavia, and now there are eight capital cities. All these new capital cities are not only confirming their status, they are actively remaking themselves, what is most interesting, as distinct from each other. To be distinct is, within the framework of capital making, seen as most positive. Between all eight capitals of nation states, but as well as emerging regional capitals of provinces, we are witnessing a process of self-determination to be seen as distinguished from the others, and not to be against each other.

Making a capital city may be one of the most positive aspects of Balkanization as a process, which came out of rampant and brief history of divisions. I argue that this process can be seen through the lens of the discourse of distinction. The discourse of distinction, goes beyond the esthetic theory of an urban form, or architectural space as the issues of taste are involved. My other argument is that making a capital city distinct from each other may be much closer to research the advent of the sublime in the process, over beautiful.

At the same time, reading this paper shall have in mind Pierre Burdieux definition of the distinction and class. Especially the claim that when the subordinate classes may seem to have their own particular idea of 'good taste', "...[i]t must never be forgotten that the working-class 'aesthetic' is a dominated 'aesthetic' which is constantly obliged to define itself in terms of the dominant aesthetics..." Due to the demise of socialism in the Western Balkans, the working class of former Yugoslavia and Albania, has today mutated as a different class. In the previous system of liberal socialism, this class was privileged by legal rights when compared to the East Communist Block, but the source aesthetics was dictated by the state. Today this group is largely unprivileged vis-a-vis larger European community including former East Block, however it evades the dominance of Western aesthetics.

The most apparent aspect quality of Balkanisation processes is distinction. Seen deeper, it is the normality of the need to be distinct that is taking shape, and that is shaping contemporary Western Balkans, nation by nation and capital by capital. There was only one capital in former Yugoslavia, but now there are eight national capitals, including Prishtina the latest capital city in the region. Thus eight capitals are all, even in different countries, competing to be distinct and noticed, and this cultural competition comes all the way down to architecture and urbanism via the use of iconic symbolism. The positive aspect of this process is of course the emerging knowledge, times eight, about how to be distinct architecturally in the see of sameness. The problem of this aspect is that all the attention is still veered towards a Western European eye and with an immense desire to be excepted as a European with a content based on the right to be different among the nations. The eight distinct approaches by the Western capitals are telling, as none of the eight wants to be the same as the other, thus creating a chorus of distinct voices, or shapes.

Balkanisation can be explained by the self-propelled desire for distinction within a densely networked neighborhood, to be distinct from the others nearby, and to find ways and means of achieving this goal, sometimes by any means necessary. But also, according to the Bulgarian historian Maria Todorova, Balkanisation has historical dimension of repeated rejection of its Western christian dimension against the Muslim; the Balkan in the name derives from a Turkish word. Yet, I think that this desire has a profound impact on the layers of physical and virtual interventions above a territory as such and as the one that belongs to many. Today when everyone feels overwhelmed by the fallout idea of designing difference through appearance, like branding does, the Western Balkans do their own thing to distinct themselves among many in a sort of sincere, if not basic way. In my opinion, the emerging Western Balkan capitals, all attempting to be distinct, can serve as good models for the future of Europe to come, which they are part of. At the same time, as a historian Giancarlo Marainello pointed out, Europe always reformulates itself as a consequence of itself having always been fractured. Europe is allegedly based on being divided before being united and its history and reality is the one of managed separations. Sometimes the separations were managed badly, which resulted in great losses, so to focus of how to manage rather than what to manage has come into play many times. The Western Balkans, today dispersed may be analogous to some prototypical state of Europe that makes itself visible as an oddball to the unification trends in the EU. In fact the Western Balkans may just be too close to an analogy of warring states which Europe really wants to leave behind. There, where the theory of European territory, and legality, stops, we have spatial practices and networks across the ethnic nation states in the Western Balkans, which hold true against the divisions. These practices often have cross-national connection as one of their primary mission statements. They are basically practices that are locked in a locality, but that always need to be present somewhere else as well, as a reproduction of the locality. I think that Balkanisation complex of knowledge is a source pool to investigate the future of locality with Europe.

Balkanization is an unfinished project, analogical to Modernism itself. The expressions of Balkanization, are sought not just within a built space or urbanity, but as the urbanity itself, and as itself being distinct from any near urbanity. The distinction drive, here takes over from pursuing a common taste alone and the standards of esthetic perception. Western Balkans cannot be explained by a regular EU terminology simply because this territory would quickly be labelled illegal by EU standards. These standards refer to the EU's own measure of land and sovereignty. However, the EU's insistence on the Western Balkan term somehow works half way and it is an almost all right thing to call the thing. The Balkan in the Western Balkan amalgamation is the remnant of the Turkish presence in one of its pasts. The Western in it is the signifier for the ongoing Balkan's Westernization. This means the legal territorial separation of the land from its geographical constraints; from the geographical Balkans, the Greek Peninsula and etymological Balkans, and from the eponymous mountain ridge departing from Bulgaria. When the geographical and etymological are taken away then there is only Western that remains to be deployed as strategy to situate this piece of Europe within the European Union. On the other hand, there is no agency today other than the International Crimes Tribunal in The Hague that will define how far the Westernization shall go. Thus Western Balkans is always on the verge of being seen as becoming a wild territory within a legal framework, as in the analogy to the Wild West in the American West.

But while its history is packed with negative emotion and interpretation, its reality in other worlds than itself and potential for future are seen as positive. Because, a most important issue in making a capital city is the culture that is producing it, its character, and its particularities. In the Western Balkans, there are thus eight capital cities, allegedly enabled by eight distinct cultures. Thus we do not only have the reproduction of difference among the cities, we have a multiple solidification of culture taking shape with the cities as their capital representation.

These new South Eastern European capitals are: Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Skopje, Podgorica, Tirana, most recently Prishtina, and most traditionally old capital Belgrade. There are also capitals of existing of emerging autonomous entities, like Novi Sad (Vojvodina), Rijeka (Istria), Brcko (Capital District, US govern), Banja Luka (Serbian entiry in Bosnia) and Kosovska Mitrovica (capital enclave in Kosovo). Each of them, some less, some more, depending on the means are trying to self-fashion themselves as distinguishable from each other, and also as deriving from a different culture base from each other, which they try to prove and solidify in physical form.

After almost a century in the shadow of one capital, Belgrade, the detached cities in the Western Balkans felt freed to exemplify a new identity. Priština, for example, which grew rapidly in population during the Balkan crisis of the 1990s, decorated its main street with a miniature Statue of Liberty, and named the street William Jefferson Clinton as a tribute to the American president’s support of their position against then Yugoslav president, Slododan Milošević. Belgrade, meanwhile, built extensive rooftop additions resembling mushrooms, a massive new Orthodox shrine, and a glitzy field of Turbo Architecture in a mix of high-tech and neo-Byzantium styles. The town of Mostar renovated its famous Ottoman-era bridge destroyed by Bosnian Croats in 1995; the city also built a sculpture of Bruce Lee, perhaps the only famous figure not to have harmed any of the three sides in the recent war. Thanks to Serbian refugees from Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, Novi Sad has doubled in population and privatized a now rich Danube river coastline named Valley of Thieves. Skopje’s new fluorescent cross that overlooks the city is just one more in the vibrant mix of Roman, Byzantium, Ottoman, Communist, and New Orthodox Christian monuments. In Tirana, artist-cum-mayor Edi Rama paints buildings in bright colors and abstract patterns, while in Ljubljana, leading architecture firms imitate Tirana’s lively patterns of colors in their façade designs for high architectural building projects. Also there in Ljubljana, an almost deviant form of city building is reached by huge developments of BTC City areas into becoming the city as well as almost baroque approach to neo-modernism in the work of design offices like Sadar&Vuga. In stark contrast, Sarajevo, renovated by Europeans and Americans together, has become a forgotten town hurt by the heavy brain-drain and sinking into apathy. Nonetheless, the city recently found itself at the forefront of the film industry and a test field for public-private investments in high culture and projects in religious tolerance. And in Zagreb and Croatia coastline, a new neo-modernist awareness sprang up, as well as scores of innovative architectural designs for schools, kindergartens and other places of social standard.

This various landscape is today called Post-Socialist landscape. It would not be called such if it were not for the multiple, but systematic opposition to socialist architecture and urbanism. As in Turbo architecture, which grew vehemently against clean modernist forms, Turbo Urbanism may be rising against the clarity of the urban versus rural territory. Thus it may be that the rise of radical forces will be seen primarily in the expression of ambiguity and evasion. Any form of the city produced by the forces of ambiguity and evasions together is struggling with being mapped, but it likely to be legalized.

But to remind, though Balkanization is a term of relatively recent derivation, the phenomenon extends several centuries into the past. Fragmentation of the Byzantine Empire into emerging ethnic kingdoms marked the entire fourteenth century on the Balkan Peninsula. The coming Ottoman Empire seized large parts of Byzantine territories, but it had to redraw until the pressure of its own fall. This caused the constant realignment of emerging local borders while the impact of the empire’s full retreat have was being felt. The next working solution was the empire established by the Serbian aristocracy, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, as a modern solution to unify the fragments; it failed during World War II. The last political solution for the unity of the territory was communist. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, masterminded by the Slovene self-thought philosopher Edvard Kardelj, lasted half a decade, a little less than the life-span of its creators. However, the fall of this last empire in the 1990s shows its tight political relationship to both modernization and Modernism as its expression. Thus Balkanization, can be seen as the continuity of the processes seeking particularity, religious fragmentation and finally territorial specificity. The territorial specifics are today protected and guaranteed by the emerging nation states, and their particular looks.

It is useful here to rewrite Maria Todorova survey the origins of the name Balkan, of Turkish origin, in the context of its debasement in the Western literature. For two millennia the Greek Haemus was naming the ridge that defines South Eastern Europe. The earliest mention of the Balkan name is from an Italian humanist and diplomat Filippo Buonaccorsi Callimaco from 15th century. He noted that it was Balkan, not Haemus, as how local people called the mountain. The next account is by a Dalmatian diplomat Anton Vranic in 1549, who refused to use the Balkan term, and used Slavic iteration Emo, as well as Stara Planina (old mountain) to refer to the mountain ridge. Next was German diplomat Salomon Schweigger in 1577, also an early translator of Qur’an to German, who used the Turkish Balkan name in his travel accounts, but also Slavic Comonitza. In 1628 the ridge was called Balban, by Martin Grunberg, erroneously ascribing it the the Rhodopes. In 1608 Balkan was used by the Armenian traveller Simeon trir Lehatsi. In French, again by a diplomat, Louis Deshayes de Cormanin, the Balkan is used to denote a mountain with bare cliffs, as opposed to mountains covered with woods. In 1740 it is used by Caiptan Schad. In 1762 Rudjer Boskovic, scientist from Dubrovnik used the Turkish word Balkan for the mountain ridge. More in 1770s follow more usage of the Balkan term by the French travelers, while the Armenian geographers now exclusively use the Balkan term. In the 19th century, Austrian cartographers use Balkan term. The British traveller educated at Cambridge traveling to Constantinople notes the mountain ridge in 1794 as already “debased by the name Bal.Kan.” The ridge previously called Haemus had been considered “classic ground” in the 18th century in British romantic roots and was always called that before. The British travelers prefer using Balkan term for the mountain in the 19th century. The Russian travelers used Balkan term without a problem since 1800, even during the Russian-Turkish war. The Russians add “glory” to the Balkans. There were also revisions of the term, especially by Robert Walsh who mapped the Balkan ridge to be crossing from the Bay of Venice to the Black Sea. The first usage of the Balkan peninsula was in 1808 by a German geographer August Zeune. Robert Walsh was the first known to use Balkan for a collective territory referring to exclusively Greek priests serving the territory by the mid-19th century. In the second part of the 19th century the term Balkan peninsula is ubiquitous. It is then also called “European Turkey.” This is also the time when a more politically correct for the European standards: South East Europe started to be used by German geographer. It is until this day that the two terms are used connoting the very same territory: South East Europe and the Balkans. South East Europe as the neutral term which would wipe out the divisions, and the Balkan as the common term, which is still used to point out to the distinct nature of its inhabitants.

In the Ottoman world the word Balkan was present since 14th century and it came with the invasion of Europe. Bal means mud, kan is Turkish diminutive. The term Balkanization comes with the increasing use the Balkans with a political connotation. New York Times is the first to publish the term in 1918 to relate to the aftermath of World War I in Europe. It wrongly glues Balkanization to the nationalistic mini-state making, as the states already existed before the WWI, but it solidifies the Balkanization in the political imaginary as the decomposing force, and as nomen nudum, one that has not standing because it has never been validated by a description. However, it became scientifically a valid term in biology to label biological species from a common territory.

Beyond its exhaustive refusal to be named, this historic survey of the term Balkanization is used here in order to establish continuity in one aspect to contemporary society. That is a right to distinction, which bring also the right for spatial and iconographic expression, distinguished from other representations. This sudden ‘right’ of course is also often abused to become the right for ulterior national determinations, which come together with the ideology of nationalistic particularity. It is where the ulterior motives finally come out to the surface under the pretext of democracy, or liberation. But it is also where the ulterior energy faces challenges of systems of languages and policies which are top down. And they are productively top down because of the power of managing the dangers of national distinction via a higher order or strategy. This higher order is the one that manages the dispersal and administrates it better than the self-styled mini-efforts of mini-states.

This power was the trademark of socialist Yugoslavia, a former entity established in 1943, during the World War II, on the remains of the previous Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Todorova argues that Yugoslavia as a project was in fact the opposite of Balkanization, a unity that reversed the fragmentation. I would like to propose on the contrary that Yugoslavia has embraced Balkanization as it had been done before. It had disguised it behind the liberal socialist image of unity. One of the main aspects of the Yugoslav constitution included official policy of “de-etatization” (literally: the process of dissolving or dispersing central state powers to local and national communities). Being cautious of Serbian unitarism having a capital city within Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Tito and Kardelj gave distinct powers to local political entities in the constitution, which included scales from the neighborhood to republics and autonomous provinces. For example this dispersing policy created Kosovo and Vojvodina with a right to veto state policies. Such amalgamated condition, which allowed Yugoslavia to be a bridge between the sides in the Cold War has often been criticized as unsustainable, i.e. not central enough to remain after its partisan creators from the World War II leave the stage. All former republics are today recognized nation states, Kosovo is today in the process of being recognized as the distinct nation state, while Vojvodina has a distinct political autonomy within Serbia. Instead of a single capital, today there are eight national capital cities and one capital of an autonomous province. They are independent from each other politically, but not fully economically. Thus they all struggle to attract foreign attention and investment, and they all find a particular way of doing it, however routed in the local political powers enjoyed via the Yugoslav policy of de-etatization. Yugoslavia has not only reversed Balkanization, it has made it possible, and at the end productive for all new capitals.

The policy of dispersion, imbedded into the constitution of socialist Yugoslavia, was also an engine behind the distribution of equal social programs across the territory of amalgamated nations. This distribution had an instant need for architecture and urbanism. All regional capitals were to have cluster of new social realm, typically made of: a museum, cultural centre, sports center and recreation. Time nine capitals the state thus produced plenty of jobs for architects. Architectural schools were reborn, although only in capital cities and a certain profiling of who is best in what took place. Museum of Revolution were usually designed by Croatian architects, the cultural centers by Slovenian architects and Sport centers by Bosnian architects. Architects from Belgrade were already very busy with housing and office programs, as well as infrastructure, while the school in Sarajevo made its name in historical restoration. Macedonian architects had a surge only in late ‘60s with after the earthquake that left Skopje in ruins. Appointed by the UN, a young team of Japanese architects, already known as Metabolists, led by Kenzo Tange, and supported by Arata Isozaki designed the brutalist master for Skopje and allowed for local architects to express romantic sensibilities in concrete. These examples were rarely included in the pan-Yugoslav monographs.

It is the same policy of de-etatization that generated a program for allowing the population to have outdoor recreation across both urban and rural landscapes, without hierarchies. This program gave projects mostly to engineers to build open fields almost everywhere and the law to protect them. For its flexible size and geometry, the handball stadiums were most preferred open space, as the field can be used for smaller games and for soccer. But more importantly the law protected open spaces became socially viable for all sorts of meetings, events and later performances. As most of the fields were done simply, the standards for sport and competition could not be fulfilled. It would make more sense to use the stadiums for cultural and spontaneous public events, especially rock, and later alternative concerts. Thus the open stadiums stood more, and did more, for a mix of population benefiting from the policy of dispersal, than city squares and parks. The stadiums were often, thanks to specific geometry, equally large, or even larger than urban squares. Thanks to non-hierarchical planning, the stadiums could be either centrally located or on the periphery, with equal legal status. The ones centrally located would naturally attract more culturally oriented public than city squares, and so in some alternative sense be experienced as more open and protected.

Pejorative term[edit]

This is most clearly a pejorative term, and it is outright immoral for anyone to make assertions about whether their narrow use is meant to be pejorative or merely one with deeply negative connotations. Briefly, can you imagine "persistent propensity for military defeat" replaced by "Frenchization," for example? No? Well, why would it be any different if a term is applied to an region with misfortune of location, whose conflict was caused repeatedly, over two millennia, by a host of invaders, most often Western and Central European empires? I personally find the section about the "Balkanization of Africa" to be deeply offensive. It is just not okay for a site of such global importance to editorially endorse and promote prejudice.

At sr.wikipedia it is stated that it is a pejorative term and that the article is partly or wholy taken from a book titled "Речник социјалног рада" or "Rečnik socijalnog rada" by the author prof. dr Ivan Vidanović. I will try to find the exact citation in the book mentioned. --Regards, Biblbroks's talk 01:00, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

The term is not pejorative as it is used in English and that statement should just be removed. (talk) 22:26, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not a registered Wikipedia user, but I do happen to be a specialist in Modern European History. I wanted to say that scholars in my field (working in English) use this term frequently and without any pejorative connotations or intentions. Maybe this would work better if the sentence said something like, "While some see the term as pejorative,[Serbian citation here], in the English-speaking world it is usually politically neutral." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:52, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Balkanization is not always pejorative, but it is a term that born pejorative, and that is still used with negative connotations.:


"Balkanization was used by Rathenau to convey an expectation of nearly apolyptic devastation."


"He specified what he meant by balkanization: the creation, in a region of hopelessly mixed races, of a medley of small states with more or less backward populations, economically and financially weak, covetous, intriguing, afraid, a continual prey to the machinations of the great powers, and to the violent promptings of their owns passions".


"Here Balkanization is not simply parcelation, the creation of small entities, at war with each other; it becomes synonimous of dehumanization, daesthetization, destruction of civilization."

More, P.viii

"Consider the definition of Balkanization as the breaking up of a unit into increasingly smaller units that are hostil to each other."


"Furthermore, while it is difficult to deny that the types of problems conveyed and encapsulated in the more obiously pejorative concept of Balkanization..."


--Bentaguayre (talk) 19:32, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

I have removed the adjective "pejorative." This qualification is not inherent to either its semantic origins nor its original historical meaning (identifying an historical event), nor is there any substantial support to the contrary here. The term "pejorative" itself requires that it apply to some form of rhetorical device or function (pejorative to what, exactly? how?). That device would first need to be identified. Inferring a rhetorical function for "balkanization" would be highly subjective, given the original physical meaning of the term. Lets keep it scientific. Wikibearwithme (talk) 17:21, 21 October 2015 (UTC)


Can anyone make the article's main image animate, as the full size image does? It's possible, as shown on the Animation page, but I can't see how to do it. David (talk) 18:19, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Alternate way to show sequence of changing boundaries? The animation (that one can only get by going to the other size images) is interesting but I think even that presentation is less effective than possible. The steps to different boundaries is either too slow to notice differences or too fast to absorb the boundaries shown. I think a better presentation would show one image at a time statically with "previous" and "next" buttons so one could control the pace. Fholson 12:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fholson (talkcontribs)

Animation still doesnt´work, please fix it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Balkanization as foreign policy creating geopolitical fragmentation[edit]

Balkanization should not be seen as a pejorative term. Rather it is a term used by foreign powers to divert attention away from its policy of control and subjugation of a population to the effect those policies have had. Even Britannica states "the term Balkanization is today invoked to explain the disintegration of some multiethnic states and their devolution into dictatorship, ethnic cleansing, and civil war." ( How can a term explain events? Balkanization is a term found in the vocabulary of those outside the Balkans and is a completely strange reason (term?) for people to act in any geopolitical fashion.

If Balkanization is a term to describe geopolitical fractioning then Yugoslavia is a term to describe a unification process when foreign powers leave. Yugoslavia then can mean the expulsion of foreign powers by indigenous groups. So, in simplistic formulism, Balkanization occurred as a result of the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Third Reich and then finally the West. Yugoslavia seems to have occurred after long, complex processes to unite peoples by common language and interwoven histories after foreign powers have left. Yugoslavia was the name adopted by a united and free people - Balkanization is the term used by foreign powers as a set of goals and foreign policies of subjugation. One was adopted by an indigenous population, the other term adopted by foreign powers.

Using this more refined meaning of Balkanization, it can be seen in a more modern sense recently when Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen stated "When technologists began to notice states regulating and projecting influence online, some warned against a `Balkanisation of the internet`" ( The hidden ground here is that the internet is a free, open and independent network and foreign powers are extending their reach by creating a `Russian internet` and an `American internet` - an allusion to old Cold War habits - and thus worrying Balkanization policies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Atucovic (talkcontribs) 06:26, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Why is Balkanization a "bad" thing?[edit] (talk) 16:59, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Software languages are nothing to do with Balkanization[edit]

Te following statement lacks sources. Even if it has sources it is jargon at best. There is not any possibility that this political concept can be applied to computer languages.

Balkanization is sometimes used to refer to the divergence over time of programming languages and data file formats (particularly XML). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:29, 5 September 2014 (UTC)


The article seems to take on face value the idea that the term is pejorative, even though the Merriam-Webster definition does not indicate it is considered so, and the other source cited in the intro is in another language and cannot be verified by most editors of the English Wikipedia. It also relies on a single person who objects to the word without offering any other viewpoints or sources, and in such a stubby article this seems to lend undue weight to this person's perspective. It looks like the use of the adjective "pejorative" has been discussed and deemed inappropriate and removed, and whoever added it back in did not give any reason for doing so on the talk page, so I will remove it again. Mmyers1976 (talk) 16:00, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

I get the sense from reading the article that the primary author has issue with the term, that this author is trying to win an argument that none of us are party to by editing wikipedia. This doesn't trouble me at all though, I expect nothing less. Wikipedia isn't renowned as a garbage source without reason.2601:40E:100:1540:9547:B573:FD29:9F74 (talk) 13:31, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

How would the creation of ineffective hostile states be neutral or even positive? Anyway, MW is not a prescriptive authority on English and its example are mostly in a negative context which is enough. --Mark Enlightenment (talk) 20:12, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
The sentence "Non-controversial, non-locally referencing, much older terms are separatism and its stronger analogue, secessionism" in the lead is puzzling, as balkanization is not remotely synonymous with separatism or secessionism, and it is misleading to teach these as synonyms. The note is even less correct, inserting the term "breakaway state" (again, balkanization cannot be equated to a simple separatist movement or state), while cushioning it in some salesman language about how those terms are much older, readily understood, whatever. This is terrible NPOV and unreferenced at that. Also, in reply to the comment above: Balkanization does not necessarily refer to ineffective states or even hostile states, and even if it did, considering that automatically worse than being under the hegemony of X or Y power is discarding about half of everything Southeast Europeans have ever written about Southeast Europe. If none object, i will remove that bizarre line from the lead. P.S: With all of this said, i see many WP:BOLD edits in the page history for toning down what was once an even less neutral article, and i thank all the persons involved for them. YuriNikolai (talk) 23:53, 19 November 2020 (UTC)

Neutrality (cont.)[edit]

If we are going to list our own feelings about the term (see above), I should add that I am from the Balkans and that I find the use of the term imperialist and racist.

Nevermind what I feel, however, because there is a long trail of literature on the topic, documenting nothing by pejorative use--from just one source (cited Todorova, 1994): "By the beginning of the twentieth century Europe had added to its repertoire of Schimpfworter, or disparagements, a new one which turned out to be more persistent than others with centuries old traditions. "Balkanization" not only had come to denote the parcelization of large and viable political units but also had become a synonym for a reversion to the tribal, the backward, the primitive, the barbarian. In its latest hypostasis, particularly in American academe, it has been completely decontextualized and paradigmatically related to a variety of problems."

The sentiment is also held by those on the political right: ""Balkanization"-the breakup of larger nations into ethnic tribes-was used as a pejorative term by the European intellectuals of the time." (Ayn Rand!, 1997, pp14) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2603:300a:2170:0:4c10:86a8:eff3:100 (talk) 18:14, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

Before anything else, I should state that I'm not an expert on the topic, and don't have a bone to pick here. Just trying to make sure encyclopaedic standards are upheld.
That said, I find the logic given in the recent edit summary is backward. The burden of proof is on the inclusion of the word 'perjorative': one must put together sufficient sources to demonstrate that the word's standard/predominant usage is pejorative. One source by a single author doesn't seem adequate.
By contrast, the previous lead sentence (without the word 'perjorative') has no burden of proof. The phrasing remains neutral with respect to the connotation of the term. Saying 'XXX is a term describing YYY' does not imply that 'XXX' has a positive connotation. Thesslantened (talk) 21:08, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
So, the burden of proof is on demonstrating that at the root of each usage is not imperialist or racist, in the face of two centuries of evidence. I think those of us who are familiar with a centuries-long trail of geographical, national, and ethnic/religious othering are willing to entertain collecting more evidence. Exactly how many sources would, in your opinion, meet the burden of proof? Two, three, four,..., or ten? Let's come up with an unmovable standard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
I would suggest 2-3 secondary sources from independent academic circles, each of which comments on the usage of the word. A standard English dictionary like Merriam–Webster would solidify the case. Then, a sentence could be added to the lead saying something like, "usage of the term is predominantly pejorative, in reference to its [e.g.] imperialist and racist origins..." (Reminder: I know relatively little about the topic itself. This is just hypothetical wording.) Do you think it would be possible to put together those sources? I'm happy to help if someone has suggestions of where to look. Thesslantened (talk) 20:46, 23 April 2021 (UTC)
A few reliable sources should definitely be provided to this effect. Google Books, and Questia are good places to look. Amanuensis Balkanicus (talk) 21:01, 18 January 2022 (UTC)