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The Feminine Mystique

by Betty Friedan

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What is a functionalist in the context of The Feminine Mystique?

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Functional psychology, mentioned by Friedan, is a school of psychology that was a reaction against the prevailing psychological philosophy of structuralism, which approaches analysis of consciousness through introspection. Functionalism, on the other hand, approaches psychology from the perspective of how mental life and behavior adapt to the person's environment: how the person functions in their environment.

The feature about functionalism that defines it is that it is concerned not with the inner workings of conscious and unconscious associations, but with the daily function of the person in the situations of daily life. Behavior and thoughts are adaptive and the person functions well or they are maladaptive and the person functions poorly.

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