Before it comes to fruition, a concept describing social and political change often must be mainstreamed and normalized into acceptance. When that concept can be embodied in a term formerly unfamiliar to the general population now seeking to describe it, the term itself takes on a life of its own. Such is the case with the word ‘balkanization’. It describes the breakup of a large, diverse, multicultural and multiracial country into smaller, more homogeneous ethnostates, as happened in the Balkans, the former Yugoslavia, in their civil war of the 1990’s.
This graph of Google trends demonstrates how the term ‘balkanization’ has become more and more mainstreamed and normalized in the United States, as Americans everywhere seek to find a word to describe what is happening to our country. They like it because, once they come to understand what it means, the word just fits. When a term has really arrived, though, it is often dumped into a slang abbreviation for popular culture usage. Look for ‘balkanization’ to be chopped into shorthand as ‘The Balk’, just like the title of my book describing and predicting the phenomenon.