This chapter is an introduction to the Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography. It provides a brief history of the development of linguistic ethnography. It discusses some key theoretical influences and antecedents of the field. It addresses the relationship between linguistic ethnography in the UK and Europe and linguistic anthropology in the US, and discusses the particular significance of ethnographic research on multilingualism in the development of linguistic ethnography. The chapter goes on to provide an overview of the content of the handbook chapters, before drawing together some key common themes which emerge across the book, including the connection between situated interaction and macro-level structures; the dynamic process of contextualisation; the importance of a critical perspective; and a frequent focus on issues related to globalisation, multilingualism and superdiversity. Finally, shared future directions for the field identified across the different chapters are briefly mentioned.