From ArticleWorld

Balkanization refers to the fragmentation of one political entity into smaller, independent, mutually unfriendly and often hostile areas. The term refers to the generally violent changes in political divisions in the Balkans through the 20th century starting with the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s that divided and re-divided the Balkan Peninsula. The countries involved are Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Turkey, and Slovenia. The word Balkanization, generally pejorative in politics, has crossed over into other fields as well as daily speech as a descriptive as well as a value judgment.

Right-wing usage

Balkanization is used in social and cultural commentary to describe, for example, increasing individual affiliation with ethnic, religious, gender, or racial identity, rather than a national one. In the United States it serves as a description of the splintering of society along class lines, as evidenced in the formation of gated communities. Balkanization is invoked by right-wing commentators as a warning about the dangers of immigration. Geopolitical fears in this case are aligned with domestic concerns about economic and social mobility. US conservatives generally encourage the Balkanization, which they see as debilitating, of alternative powers such as China, India, and Indonesia.

Left-wing usage

The left-wing also embraces the term, but for different reasons. It is seen as having the potential to be a useful step in matching conflicting sets of expectations, needs, and desires within a larger, seemingly unified context, with outcomes and services. In addition, Balkanization is thought to encourage the development of alternative points of view.

Other uses

In business Balkanization is used to describe practices otherwise called unhealthy competition, such as price wars and undercutting, and the eschewing of cooperative structures of business. Balkanization is also a way of describing the divergence of languages both human and programming.