Interview: Dr. Clerton Martins

Oct 29, 2012

Dr. Clerton Martins is a guest lecturer on the Doctoral Programme in Cultural Studies at the Universities of Aveiro and Minho. Dr. Martins will a guest speaker at the Third International Congress of Cultural Studies, in addition to his role in the organisation of the conference. The conference – which will concentrate on ‘leisure studies and free time in contemporary cultures’ – will take place on the 28th and 29th of January, 2013. Dr. Clerton Martins read History at the University of Fortaleza, Brazil. At the University of Barcelona, he took a Masters in Human Resources and Organisations, and in 2006, graduated with a Doctorate in Psychology in 2006. He subsequently pursued post-doctorate studies at the Institute of Multi-Disciplinary Leisure Studies (IEO), University of Deusto (Basque/Spain). Dr. Clerton Martins is currently the co-ordinator of the Multidisciplinary Research in Leisure Studies and Free Time, and founding member of the Iberian-American Association of Leisure Studies, in addition to collaborating with third level institutions in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal and Spain.

In terms of academic studies related to the theme of the Congress, Dr. Martins has always been fascinated by these issues. He cites the games, arts and popular celebrations from Sertão Cearense – a semi-arid region in North-East Brazil, where he lived as a teenager – as fundamentally important experiences, as he later used these activities as the basis for his doctoral research.

From this perspective, Dr. Martins developed parallel studies regarding social time, consumerism, culture and popular culture, tradition and contemporaneity, the body and traditional popular expressionism. He believes that these areas are also related to the primary focus of his research – namely leisure studies, work and free time – as they are synonymous with diverse areas of contemporary life.

What is the significance of research in areas such as leisure studies, free time and work?

Dr. Clerton Martins – In the broader context of areas such as Production and Expression of Subjectivity, which form part of the Post-Graduate Programme in Psychology at the University of Fortaleza, one of the research areas comprises Environment, Work and Culture of organisations. We observed that in research pertaining to Cultures of Organisations and Work and Free time, a considerable amount of literature focused on time spent working, and time spent out of the workplace, as this is an influential factor which affects citizens and society.

Apart from the economic and existential necessity of working, we observed that these days, we seem always to be divided between our obligations and our wishes to be free from our obligations. In terms of our right to have autonomous free time, this is one of our most intrinsic desires, and we devote our lives to this.

However, this desire is controversial. The values generated by our educational system centre on work (productive time), without considering our orientation to have time to do nothing. This paradox gives way to deeper reflections, which I believe create endless possibilities to enrich our knowledge of human nature, society, social relations and dimensions of understanding. These possibilities are both exciting and challenging.

What is your association with the doctoral programme in Cultural Studies?

My involvement in the programme is due to the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which allows me to establish a core research group for Leisure Studies and Culture within the doctorate programme. The team, which is led by Dr. Maria Manuel Baptista is highly competent and dedicated, and I believe we are developing an excellent programme. This particular congress will be a huge gathering of researchers in the field of Leisure Studies, from various European and Latin American countries. My involvement in this programme continues to bring me great satisfaction.

What are your hopes for the Congress of Leisure Studies and Free Time in Contemporary Cultures?

The greatest hopes are already a reality. The core research group for cultural and leisure studies already exists. The group is manifested through the organisation of this congress, from which discussions have arisen regarding the conference theme. The contacts which we are establishing, or have established with other research groups in the realms of Iberian American Leisure Studies constantly bring us fresh perspectives. This event has generated many discussions and there is a great deal of academic research in progress. It has been a pleasure to be involved with this group.