I'm not quite sure how to phrase this idea: a state (primarily, federative) split/divide/dissolute by ethnic borders.

I mean (or want to show the meaning) that this process may not be legally enforced and ethnic borders are not drawn by accident like borderlines of african ex-colonies.

Context: This transformation appears during the splits/dissolution/division of patronage states (mainly, of federative type) by ethnic borders. Newly created states usually are not democracies as their population prefers stable public administration to the consolidation of electoral democracy.

  • Of course noun dissolution has senses among “The termination of an organized body or legislative assembly, especially a formal dismissal”, “Disintegration, or decomposition into fragments”, and “Dissolving, or going into solution” but adjective dissolute does not have such senses. From en.wiktionary, it means “Unrestrained by morality” and “Recklessly abandoned to sensual pleasures”. Instead consider dissolve, “...terminate a union...” Nov 17, 2014 at 16:13
  • The process (of Balkanization) is often referred to as fragmentation along ethnic lines. Nov 17, 2014 at 18:09
  • As an aside, either put no whitespace on either side of a slash (preferrable, especially for single words), or put one on both sides (acceptable, especially for phrases). But putting a whitespace on just one side is a complete no-no. Just like in other languages including Russian, by the way.
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 17, 2014 at 21:26

4 Answers 4



Usually associated with India's split from Pakistan at the end of British occupation.


This sounds like Balkanization.


The state is disintegrating along ethnic lines.

According to Google:
(1) Break up into small parts, typically as the result of impact or decay.
(2) (Of a society, family, or other social group) weaken or break apart.

(You could also go with falling apart or unraveling for a similar meaning)


As others have mentioned, “Balkanization” certainly says it all very nicely, but if you insist on something more complicated,

“de facto ethnonationalistic secession/fragmentation/disintegration/partition”

might work for pessimists or

“de facto ethnonationalistic nation-building”

for optimists!

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