Tweeting on Broken Branches: A Genealogical and Critical Study on the ‘Balkanization’ Discourse through Twitter Subjectivities

Balkanization’ is part of a long-standing discourse of otherness and stereotyping whose application has moved beyond the geography of the Balkan Peninsula and represents the pejorative in many of its forms and substances. As such, it epitomizes constructed sources of knowledge that shape worldviews and actions. Through this thesis, I question ‘balkanization’ in its most current condition by examining its manifestations through the micro-blogging platform: Twitter. I employ a qualitative genealogical approach of historicizing and deconstructing ‘balkanization’ by applying Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to 1892 tweets that include “#balkanization”. The study reveals that first, ambiguity is the essential conceptual thread behind a set of meanings that the ‘balkanization’ discourse is built upon; and second, that this ambiguity preconditions and is then preconditioned by a continuous growth of recontextualizing and applying the term as descriptive of various scenarios and spaces.

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I have been born within ‘the Balkans’ and ‘balkanization’ discourses, have lived, witnessed and perhaps even unconsciously contributed to normalizing them. Through this thesis, I have come to question the standardization of comprehension surrounding these discourses, which has inevitably resulted in questioning my own self. As such, it is not only on the subject of research that I have taken a genealogical epistemological approach, but also, one I have applied to the construction of my identity as an individual, ingrained within those of collective belonging. Starting with debunking my own name (From Albanian: Liridona: Don(a)(ё) – want; Liri – freedom) and reaching towards desubstantializing myself as someone coming from ‘the Balkans’, I can say that writing this thesis has been a challenging and hence rewarding experience. I have grown.

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