The fixation of major chromosomal rearrangements with a heterozygote disadvantage is modelled as a simple example of Wright's shifting balance process of evolution in a strongly subdivided population. Chromosomal mutations with an inferior heterozygote become fixed in a local population (or deme) by random genetic drift and spread by migration and colonization. Wright postulated a process of selective diffusion in which the numbers of emigrants and colonizers dispersed from a deme increase with the mean fitness of individuals in it. The present models show that interdeme selection during the spread of a mutation depends more on the capacity of the mutant to invade and become established in other demes than on selective diffusion, unless there is rapid local extinction and colonization. The intensity of interdeme selection is reduced by random local extinction and colonization, and when these processes are rapid (with no selective diffusion) the expected fixation rate of spontaneous mutations with a heterozygote disadvantage approaches that in a single isolated deme. Local extinction and colonization, and selection on the homozygotes, accelerate the spread of chromosomal mutations which are destined to be fixed.