Tõnis Saarts has its background both in political science and sociology. He has been focused on comparative politics, political sociology, but also on historical sociology. More specifically, his research interests have been concentrated primarily on political parties, party systems, social cleavages and on the multiple challenges contemporary political parties have in modern democracies (the rise of populism, party system cartelisation, etc.). He has also been interested in democratization in Central and Eastern Europe in which he has been primarily focused on the Baltic States in a comparative perspective. His great passion has been historical sociology in which he has studied the formation of modern democracy and statehood in a historical perspective. Saarts have also been active in the public sphere, in which he has been written many columns and provided media commentaries on the developments in the Estonian politics for many international media outlets.

Main tasks

Lectures on comparative politics, political sociology, political parties, research methods, academic writing, the Estonian politics and the Baltic politics

Supervising the BA and MA theses

The research topics supervised by Saarts: political parties, party systems, party organizations and intra-party democracy, regulations on political parties (public financing), electoral behavior, social cleavages, political ideologies and party manifestos, political culture and values, political participation, populism, political communication and discourses, political developments and democratization in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Baltic States


Areas of research

comparative politics

political sociology

political parties

historical sociology