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What is the Pizza Effect?

 , August 21, 2016
The pizza effect is a tendency for cultures to influence each other in a loop. The term is an analogy to the spread of pizza from Italy to America. American pizza quickly adapted to the local tastes and took on different traditions in cities such as New York, Chicago and Detroit. With time, American style pizza became well known on a global basis, including in Italy where it is available alongside traditional Italian varieties of pizza.


The pizza effect is thought to impact virtually every aspect of culture including language, ideas, traditions, pastimes, art, literature, technology, food, fashion, music and film.

Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Influence

Cultural influence is sometimes accused of being a form of indignity. In this context, the term cultural appropriation is typically used to imply a sense of unfairness. It is common for groups to feel that they have lost something when they see that another group has adapted some element of their culture.
The history of human development has been a process of cultural transfer from one group to another. Interesting ideas flow from one culture to the next and adaptations occur that become new forms of culture. No culture is free of external influences.
It would have a chilling effect if we were all to become purists who are never influenced by other cultures.

Mocking vs Influence

There is a difference between adapting culture in a mocking, ironic or insensitive way as opposed to genuinely finding inspiration in it.

Legal Structures

Some terms related to cultural products have legal protections. For example, the word Champagne is legally protected for the exclusive use for sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France.
Overview: Pizza Effect
DefinitionThe tendency for cultures to influence each other in a loop.
ExamplesSushi in New York
Jazz in Tokyo
Hamburgers in Paris
Korean Pop Music in Mexico City
Related ConceptsCulture
Curse Of Knowledge


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