Remoteness has returned to world politics. Instead of the flat world’ once proclaimed by leading liberal voices, the world map today looks more rugged and uneven than it has in a long time. While some areas are smoothly connected to global capital and cultural flows, others are becoming more marginalised and ‘distant’, at least from the viewpoint of global centres of power. In this introduction, we build an analytical approach to remoteness as a social and political process rather than a primordial condition. We emphasise three key aspects of remoteness: its deep entanglement with forms of connectivity; its economic usefulness; and its amenability to ‘remote control’. In considering these aspects, we bring anthropology's long heritage of studying ‘marginal’ societies to bear on the political resurgence of remoteness in a new world disorder of proliferating global dangers, lucrative frontier economies and heritage‐making.