City on Fire: Deterritorialisation and Becoming at Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The focus of this chapter is to highlight the potential of festivals to deterritorialise and reterritorialise urban spaces. Deterritorialisation is able to expose urban spaces, albeit temporally and provisionally, to new re-organisation; it is conceptually understood by the theorists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari as a movement producing change, which is immanent to space itself. The study context of this chapter is the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh. It has been associated to the category of neo-pagan festivals, celebrated as revival of ancient Celtic rituals. Beltane is celebrated in Calton Hill, a contested place that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Old and New Towns of Edinburgh site, situated at the fringe of Edinburgh city centre. Although Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival has been criticised for its ‘playful deviance’, these and other festivals that draw on Scotland’s cultural heritage are increasingly appraised as powerful visitor attraction assets and therefore included within the destination’s event portfolio strategies.


Deterritorialisation Reterritorialisation Fire festivals Cultural heritage 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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