In 1972, after nearly 120 years of alcohol prohibition, alcohol was legalized in Evanston, Illinois. Using this example of legalization as a case study, we examine how the relationship among values, social class, and economics drives communal moral orders, focusing on changes that occur when the moral order no longer symbolically represents the community in light of their economic interests and self-image. Using a comparative historical framework, we examine three occasions when moral orders had shifted in Evanston. We argue that a values regime is important for the local community culture when these values are linked to strategic interests. Under some circumstances the community strategically changes their publically defined moral order with the goal of bolstering the idea of urban growth over decline.
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