This chapter, introducing The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling, examines the particular features of smuggling as an area of study, discussing its conceptualisation and diversity, amidst recent trends and scholarship. The chapter highlights smuggling as an economic activity that is politically defined and socially embedded. As a consequence, its conceptualisation as a field of study requires reference to the wider context and systems of power and profit in which it operates. Diverging disciplinary, methodological, and ideological perspectives on this have given rise to a wide variety of scholarship on smuggling that is often disjointed and siloed. This chapter provides an introduction to the handbook both as a thematic overview over key discussions and as a reflection of the challenges and opportunities in making these literatures speak to each other more effectively.