Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

The Evocative Turn

Nearness: Give key words their full value (through metaphor and poetic devices such as repetition, alliteration) so that layers of meaning get strongly embedded in the text.


The term “evoke” derives from evocare, to call forth, to call out, and refers to the act of bringing to mind or recollection, recreating imaginatively through word or image, fastening a hold on nearness, or bringing about. Evoking experience through pathic means is the manner in which human science presents the data of inquiry. There is no limit to the range of approaches that one can use in bringing experience vividly into presence. But the main aim of evocative inquiry is to listen to the things that are before us, that have a hold on us through the mediating function of the evocative text.