The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
Balkan Peninsula -- History
Balkanization refers to the violent disintegration of large entities into small and hostile political units. The term was coined around the end of World War I and the emergence of the Versailles System that superseded the old multiethnic empires with a mosaic of new nation-states. Its political usage comprises three periods. Initially, it signified recent events such as the Balkan Wars (1912–13) and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo that led to the outbreak of World War I. Hostility, emanating from the European periphery, was seen as “uncivilized” and a threat to peace in Europe. After World War II the notion also referred to postcolonial developments in Africa. During the Yugoslav Wars (1991–95), balkanization became one of the main modes of interpreting such complex conflicts in the media. Gradually, the term was decontextualized and it is now employed in a variety of fields from law to medicine to engineering.
Locate the Document
Davidova, Evguenia (2016). “Balkanization.” in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Edited by John Stone, Rutledge M. Dennis, Polly S. Rizova, Anthony D. Smith, and Xiaoshuo Hou, Vol. 1 (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell), 151-153.