The notion of mode-2 knowledge production points to far-reaching transformations in science-society relations, but few attempts have been made to investigate what growing economic and political demands on research may entail for the social sciences. This case study of new patterns of social science knowledge production outlines some major institutional and cognitive changes in Danish academic sociology during 'mode-2' times, from the 1980s onwards. Empirically, we rely on documentary sources and qualitative interviews with Danish sociologists, aiming to reconstruct institutional trajectories expressive of wider changes in the field. The analysis shows this has been a period of exceptional volatility in Danish sociology, from institutional crisis in the 1980s to a gradual re-expansion since the 1990s. Drawing on a four-fold typology of professional, critical, public, and policy sociologies, we show how a particular cognitive modality of sociology — 'welfare reflexivity' — has become a dominant form of Danish sociological knowledge production. Welfare reflexivity has proven a viable response to volatile mode-2 policy conditions.