For decades, globalization and the liberal international order evolved side by side. Recently, however, deglobalizing forces have been on the rise and the liberal international order has come to be increasingly beleaguered. The special issue ‘(De)globalization? The Future of the Liberal international order’ examines the interconnectedness of globalization and deglobalization processes on the one hand and the trajectory of the liberal international order on the other. This introduction provides a conceptual frame for the articles to follow. It discusses globalization and deglobalization processes, compares how they have been intertwined with the liberal international order in past and present, and explores how the differences between past and present are likely to affect the future of world politics. The special issue makes three important contributions. First, we examine globalization and deglobalization processes systematically. Second, we break new ground in studying the future of international order. Third, we generate novel insights into epochal global change.