Realists and constructivists commonly discuss the concept of the identity of states. Using the realist standpoint, one should understand what is real and possible for a particular situation. In other words, it is important to accept reality as it is, with all its pros and cons. Constructivists, in their turn, address the already existing foundation and try to construct new knowledge, but not just follow the already offered material. The identity of states is the representation of the beliefs within a particular state. The realists view the state identity as an obligatory approach to identify all the actions in response to not some universal rules only but change around. State identity consists of the image, interests, international norms, and domestic politics. Thus, the interests of states are determined by realists to recognize the state as a dominant actor that possesses security and power for establishing international relationships and solving conflicts.
Regarding the basics of international relations theory, this view leads realists to think about identifying the interest of the state as a tool in the promotion of strategic interactions between the states. It is impossible to ignore identity and power as these are the major characteristics of identity. The role of nation-states remains integral because national interests guide political behaviors and decisions, which are based on moral concerns and the existing authority.
Constructivists believe that states should follow the norms and laws because these are the sources of their identity. Domestic culture, current achievements, and observations help constructivists identify the sources of change and develop their approaches. It means that, compared to realists who support cooperation and mutual knowledge, constructivists integrate changes and accept transformations as a part of the state identity. As a result, the interests of states should be shaped by their identities, and identities are shaped by changes.