Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

The convocative turn: appeal

Appeal: The phenomenological text can possess revealing power – with its life meaning makeing a transformative appeal to the reader.


A qualitative text can suddenly open up to a fundamental insight that cannot be reduced to a conceptual phrase or an intellectual statement. Instead there can be a moment of epiphany, meaningfulness or sense. The desire for meaningfulness may be at the core of much human searching and reflection. Human science can not only increase our understandings of the human world, it can also humanize this world by transforming us and deepening our humanity. This sense of life meaning is not necessarily found by looking more deeply into the innerness of our “selves.” Meaningfulness is more likely found in the space that lies outside the self, in the communal realm of the “other.


The term “convoke” derives from convocare, to call together, to assemble, to summon; a convocation, a convoking-“a call together” (to remind us of what we share as humans). To convoke is to create conversational space in which the other can be encountered.