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What is Balkanization?

The term "Balkans," the geographic region for which this tutorial is named, comes from a Turkish word meaning "mountains." The former Yugoslavia is physically divided by numerous mountain ranges. It can be argued that these physical barriers are partly responsible for the ethnic fragmentation apparent in the region.

When we use the term Balkanization, however, we do not necessarily mean it in a geographic sense. Society can become fragmented according to many different dimensions. In particular, if people seek interaction with similar types of people, global access can lead to closed networks of similar types. We will demonstrate this in coming slides. First, in order to compare various societies, we require a measure that tells us to what degree a society is composed of such disjoint networks of similar types of people. This measure is the Index of Balkanized Affiliation. We will explore this measure when we introduce our society model in the next topic.

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