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The concept of balkanisation

While the player explores the spaces, the factor of Balkanisation changes according to what the player is doing within the game. The Balkanisation factor changes depending on which video, animation or text the player is watching and how much time he or she is standing in front of them. Balkanisation’s balance is also influenced by the interaction between the avatars. The ideal is to maintain a balance between Balkanisation and De – Balkanisation (detachment). The player will be informed about her/his level of Balkanisation from an indication on the interface of the game.

In the course of history, the original idea of naming the peninsula as The Balkan peninsula leaded to a new word and term, the Balkanisation. Today the meaning of this term does not refer just to the Balkans but it actually has a global use and significance. "Balkanisation" of a given community is today predominantly a slur word, suggesting a narcissistic fragmentation of large collectives into ever smaller splinter groups that assert themselves in bloodshed and cruel hatred, in cunning moralism of purity and in ritual evocation of ancient herds.

Fredric Jameson, at his book Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism writes that: if Balkanization means a particular kind of fragmentation where the fragments are mutually hostile and in competition with each other, then it is by no means clear that fragmentation and globalization are really opposites. Globalization may in fact enable and promote Balkanization.

One Internet search engine offered nearly eight thousand results of the term usage. From the Balkanization of the World Wide Web, to the Chinese legal system, to the territories of Nigeria and Columbia, to the U.S. electricity grid, or the transit system in San Francisco. Everything and everywhere seems to be in danger of becoming "Balkanized," with only a tiny proportion of these cases taking place in the Balkans themselves.

But getting back to the origins of Balkanisation one would wonder what could its dialectic opposite be? In which way and under which term could it be defined the De-Balkanisation? If the Balkan people are frequently accused of being trapped in their own history, many of the outsiders dealing with the region have also shown an unwillingness to think beyond a symbolic, formulaic representation, to the point where as Vesna Goldsworthy says: the Balkans have become nothing but a metaphor for conflict, incivility, and violence. Also, she mentions in one of her articles entitled escape from the Balkans that in a speech (at a Balkan conference), the Bulgarian president Petar Stoyanov reminded his audience that the Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is not dividing Europe from the Balkans but Europe from Europe.

Of course the definition of De-Balkanisation is a complex matter of political, social and moral order. But it is supposed that art and even the entertainment have today a role in inspiring the imagination. The practices of activists and artists can help to portray a future in which the inhabitants of Balkanised regions all over the globe are something more than victims of power, victims of history interpreted by power, of diverse circumstances and of propaganda. A healthy culture that claims herself able to constitute the future of people belonging to its range, must take into consideration the memories and experiences of people who have faced first-hand the pain and brutality of war.

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Page last modified on April 30, 2006, at 02:34 PM