The term functionalism has been used in at least three different senses in the social sciences. In the philosophy of mind, functionalism is a view about the nature of mental states. In sociology and anthropology, functionalism is an approach to understanding social processes in terms of their contribution to the operation of a social system. In psychology, functionalism was an approach to mental phenomena which emphasized mental processes as opposed to static mental structures.
William A. Darity
Macmillan Reference USA
Brown, C. (2008). Functionalism. In W.A. Darity (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social science, 2nd edition, vol. 3 (pp. 231-233). Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition