Unsurprisingly, this concept is at the center of Habermas’s work. “Structural transformation” describes the process by which the public sphere shifts from being the center of rational-critical debate, embedded within the constitution and within society, to being a debased version of its former self. Habermas conceives this shift as being dictated solely by structures changing in form and function. The structures he refers to are social, economic, and political. They include institutions like coffee houses and salons, economic structures, and a particular type of state structure. On a broader level, the division between public and private is a key structure that changes. Habermas’s emphasis on structures rather than individual people or events reveals his debt to the sociological approach to society, despite the historical elements in his work. In later sections of the work, his defense of his own method reveals that he believes studying changing structures to be the only way of understanding the public sphere.